Visceral Ischemia After Cardiopulmonary Bypass

Fitzgerald, Timothy; Kim, Donald; Karakozis, Stavros; Alam, Hasan; Provido, Haydee; Kirkpatrick, John
July 2000
American Surgeon;Jul2000, Vol. 66 Issue 7, p623
Academic Journal
The diagnosis and management of gastrointestinal complications associated with cardiopulmonary bypass is often hindered by a complicated clinical picture and equivocal examination. To better define the incidence, risk factors, and mortality, we reviewed the records of all patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass from 1988 through 1996. The database for this study comprised 14,521 patients who underwent cardiac surgery. The patients (543) with gastrointestinal complications were identified, and those with major complications (166) were individually reviewed. Major complications included pancreatitis, gastritis, laparotomy, gastric ulcer, cholecystitis, colonic perforation, gastrointestinal bleeding, diverticulitis, bowel obstruction, perforation, and visceral ischemia. Our results were the following. 1) Gastrointestinal complications were noted in 3.7 per cent (543) of patients with major complications occurring in 1.2 per cent. In 166 patients, 187 major complications were noted. 2) Visceral ischemia, an infrequent but usually fatal (71%) complication, occurred in 24 (0.17%). 3) Of the ischemic events, 83 per cent (20 of 24) affected the bowel; with the colon involved 80 per cent of the time (16 of 20). 4) Patients with visceral ischemia were more likely to be female (relative risk 2.1), have longer pump times (92.2 versus 74.2), have cardiac procedures other than coronary artery bypass graft (relative risk 2.6), and have end-stage renal disease (relative risk 16.7). We conclude that, given the incidence and mortality related to visceral ischemia, especially to the colon, patients with risk factors (end-stage renal disease, female sex, non-coronary artery bypass graft, and longer pump times) should undergo routine endoscopic examination of the colon early after bypass and when clinically indicated thereafter.


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