Objectives: Cerebral complications continue to be a major cause of morbidity after cardiac surgery. Earlier studies have mainly focused on intraoperative events, but symptoms may also occur later in the postoperative period. The purpose of this study was to determine the incidence and risk factors of focal neurologic complications and timing of cerebral symptoms.
Design: A retrospective study.
Setting: Linköping University Hospital.
Participants: Two thousand four hundred eighty patients who underwent cardiac surgery from 1992 to 1995.
Interventions: Standard cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) technique was used in all patients. Anticoagulant treatment included heparin and patients with coronary artery surgery were also administered acetylsalicylic acid and valve-surgery patients received warfarin or dicumarol.
Measurements and Main Results: Seventy-five patients (3%) had focal neurologic deficits and/or confusion postoperatively. In 32 patients (43%), the onset was not intraoperative but occurred later in the postoperative period. The lowest incidence of cerebral complications was found in patients who underwent single-valve replacement (1.2%) and the highest incidence was found in patients who underwent combined procedures (valve and coronary artery surgery; 7.6%). Patients greater than 70 years of age had a complication rate of 4.1% compared with 2.5% in patients aged 70 years and less (p < 0.05). The incidence of diabetes mellitus was 11.4% in the entire series, but was more common (18.7%; p < 0.05) in patients with cerebral symptoms. Also, 5.9% of all patients had a history of cerebrovascular disease compared with 14.7% (p < 0.01) of patients with cerebral complications.
Conclusion: Cerebral complications may be delayed after cardiac surgery, suggesting causes of cerebral damage other than intraoperative events. Valve-surgery patients had the lowest incidence and patients with combined procedures had the highest incidence of cerebral complications. Advanced age, diabetes mellitus, and preexisting cerebrovascular disease increased the risk.
1998. Vol. 12, no 3, 270-273 p.