alexa Abdominal complications following cardiac surgery
Surgery

Surgery

Journal of Surgery

Author(s): GG Tsiotos

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Between 1978 and 1991, 116 of 19,246 patients (0.6%) undergoing cardiac surgery developed abdominal complications (renal/hepatic failure excluded) within 30 days of their cardiac operation. Comparison with a randomly selected control group of 217 patients operated upon over the same period of time was also undertaken. Compared to the control group, the study patients were older (mean age, 63.3 ± 12.5 years vs 57.5 ± 21.5 years; P = 0.03), more likely to have a history of alcohol abuse (10% vs 4%; P = 0.03), and more likely to have a previous history of gastrointestinal problems (43% vs 17%; P = 0.0001). There was also a trend towards a greater number of patients having valvular surgery, particularly reoperative surgery, in the study group. Postoperatively, patients with marked low cardiac output, requiring the intra-aortic balloon pump, were more likely to develop abdominal complications. These complications included complicated peptic ulcer disease in 54 (47%), intestinal obstruction and/or perforation in 19 (16%), biliary tract disease in 13 (11%), mesenteric ischemia in 13 (11%), acute pancreatitis in 3 (3%), and miscellaneous complications in the remaining 14 (12%). Forty-three patients were treated medically and 73 patients required operative intervention. The surgical procedures performed were truncal vagotomy and drainage (12), oversewing of a perforation or a bleeding vessel (6), gastrectomy (2), intestinal resection (14), laparotomy only (14), cholecystectomy (14), and other (11). Mortality was 26% (30116) with the mortality for medical and surgical treatment being 16% vs 32%, respectively (P = 0.112). Intestinal ischemia had the highest mortality, with a rate of 85% (1113). Despite intensive monitoring and care of cardiac surgical patients, abdominal complications do occur, although rarely. Risk factors include older age, a positive history of gastrointestinal disease, reoperative valve surgery, and severe postoperative low cardiac output.

This article was published in Am J Surg and referenced in Journal of Surgery

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