Gastrointestinal complications after cardiac surgery are often difficult to diagnose, and are associated with high morbidity and mortality rates.
Dr Andersson and colleagues conducted a study to determine risk factors for these complications.
The research team collected data prospectively between 1996 and 2001 from 6,119 patients who underwent 6,186 cardiac surgical procedures.
The investigators analyzed data retrospectively from patients who experienced major gastrointestinal complications, using univariate and multivariate analysis.
The team identified 50 major gastrointestinal complications in 47 patients and 13 of these patients died within 30 days.
|Gastrointestinal complications were often lethal but did not independently predict death within 30 days|
|British Journal of Surgery|
The most common complication was upper gastrointestinal bleeding (16 patients) whilst intestinal ischemia was the most lethal complication (8 of 10 patients died).
The researchers performed abdominal surgical operations in 12 patients.
Multivariate analysis was used by the team that identified 9 variables, which independently predicted major gastrointestinal complications.
The 9 variables identified were; age over 80 years, active smoker, need for preoperative inotropic support, New York Heart Association class III-IV, cardiopulmonary bypass time more than 150 min, postoperative atrial fibrillation, postoperative heart failure, reoperation for bleeding and postoperative vascular complications.
Dr Andersson concludes, “We identified 9 risk factors for the development of major gastrointestinal complications after cardiac surgery.”
“Gastrointestinal complications were often lethal but did not independently predict death within 30 days."