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Ann Thorac Surg. 2008 Mar;85(3):845-52. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2007.11.015.

Impact of intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography on surgical decisions in 12,566 patients undergoing cardiac surgery.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Tübingen University Hospital, Tübingen, Germany.



The utility of intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for different types of cardiac surgical procedures has not been thoroughly investigated despite its increasing popularity. Therefore, we retrospectively evaluated the impact of before and after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) TEE on surgical decisions in 12,566 consecutive patients undergoing cardiac surgery at a single institution.


We analyzed all patients undergoing cardiac surgical procedures who had an intraoperative TEE examination between 1990 and 2005 at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Results of the TEE examinations were entered into a database. Previously undiagnosed TEE findings from the pre- and post-CPB examinations that directly impacted surgical decisions were evaluated.


Before and after CPB TEE examinations influenced surgical decision making in 7.0% and 2.2%, respectively, of all evaluated patients (n = 12,566). In patients undergoing only coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG [n = 3,835]), surgical decisions were influenced by 5.4% of the pre-CPB and 1.5% of the post-CPB TEE examinations, and in 6.3% and 3.3%, respectively, of those patients undergoing isolated valve procedures (n = 3,840). In combined CABG and valve procedures (n = 2,944), surgical decisions were influenced by 12.3% of the pre-CPB and 2.2% of the post-CPB TEE examinations.


Intraoperative TEE influences cardiac surgical decisions in more than 9% of all patients in the presented study population, with the greatest observed impact in patients undergoing combined CABG and valve procedures.

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