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J Card Surg. 2009 Jan-Feb;24(1):64-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-8191.2008.00708.x. Epub 2008 Sep 5.

Dental considerations for cardiac surgery.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York 10029-6574, USA.


Many patients requiring cardiac surgery possess poor oral health. The presence of decayed teeth, untreated dental abscesses, and periodontitis can all represent potentially potent causes of an odontogenic infection. Ultimately, such an infection can have catastrophic consequences if it occurs during or soon after certain cardiac procedures. Since an association exists between poor oral hygiene and various systemic diseases, many patients scheduled for cardiac procedures inherently possess poor oral hygiene and untreated dental infections. Inadequate patient education, financial constraints, and dental phobia all serve as barriers for patients receiving routine intraoral care. Consequently, patients may unknowingly present for cardiac surgery with undetected oral infections that can magnify the likelihood of an adverse outcome, leading to increased costs, morbidity, and possibly mortality. It is recommended to view oral health in the perspective of systemic health, specifically, recognizing the deleterious impact that an untreated odontogenic infection can have upon cardiac surgery. Therefore, considering scheduling constraints and the urgency of the operation, if time and resources permit, then it is suggested that patients who undergo elective cardiac surgery should be screened preoperatively to ensure that any oral infection is diagnosed and definitively treated. Such an investment can yield significant improvements in surgical outcome and overall patient health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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