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Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2004 Sep;8(3):185-211.

Pulmonary complications after cardiac surgery.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Hadassah-Hebrew University School of Medicine, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem, Israel.


Over the past two decades there has been a steady evolution in the practice of adult cardiac surgery with the introduction of "off-pump" surgery. However, respiratory complications remain a leading cause of postcardiac surgical morbidity and can prolong hospital stays and increase costs. The high incidence of pulmonary complications is in part due to the disruption of normal ventilatory function that is inherent to surgery in the thoracic region. Furthermore, patients undergoing such surgery often have underlying illnesses such as intrinsic lung disease (e.g., chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and pulmonary dysfunction secondary to cardiac disease (e.g., congestive heart failure) that increase their susceptibility to postoperative respiratory problems. Given that many patients undergoing cardiac surgery are thus susceptiple to pulmonary complications, it is remarkable that more patients do not suffer from them during and after cardiac surgery. This is to a large degree because of advances in anesthetic, surgical and critical care that, for example, have reduced the physiological insults of surgery (e.g., better myocardial preservation techniques) and streamlined care in the immediate postoperative period (e.g., early extubation). Moreover, the development of minimally invasive surgery and nonbypass techniques are further evidence of the attempts at reducing the homeostatic disruptions of cardiac surgery. This review examines the available information on the incidences, consequences, and treatments of postcardiac surgery respiratory complications.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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