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Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 Oct;72(4):1195-201; discussion 1201-2.

Stroke after cardiac surgery: short- and long-term outcomes.

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Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



Stroke remains a devastating complication of cardiac surgery, but stroke prevention remains elusive. Evaluation of early and long-term clinical outcomes and brain-imaging findings may provide insight into stroke prognosis, etiology, and prevention.


Five thousand nine hundred seventy-one cardiac surgery patients were prospectively studied for clinical evidence of stroke. Stroke and nonstroke patients were compared by early outcomes. Data collected for stroke patients included brain imaging results, long-term functional status, and survival. Outcome predictors were then determined.


Stroke was diagnosed in 214 (3.6%) patients. Brain imaging demonstrated acute infarction in 72%; embolic in 83%, and watershed in 24%. Survival for stroke patients was 67% at 1 year and 47% at 5 years. Independent predictors of survival were cerebral infarct type, creatinine elevation, cardiopulmonary bypass time, preoperative intensive care days, postoperative awakening time, and postoperative intensive care days. Long-term disability was moderate to severe in 69%.


Stroke after cardiac surgery has profound repercussions that are independently related to infarct type and clinical factors. These data are essential for clinical decision making and prognosis determination.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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