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J Cardiothorac Surg. 2016 Jul 8;11(1):99. doi: 10.1186/s13019-016-0491-2.

Pulmonary function and health-related quality of life 1-year follow up after cardiac surgery.

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Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Health Sciences, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden.
Faculty of Medicine and Health, School of Medical Sciences, Örebro university, Örebro, Sweden.
Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.



Pulmonary function is severely reduced in the early period after cardiac surgery, and impairments have been described up to 4-6 months after surgery. Evaluation of pulmonary function in a longer perspective is lacking. In this prospective study pulmonary function and health-related quality of life were investigated 1 year after cardiac surgery.


Pulmonary function measurements, health-related quality of life (SF-36), dyspnoea, subjective breathing and coughing ability and pain were evaluated before and 1 year after surgery in 150 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting, valve surgery or combined surgery.


One year after surgery the forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 s were significantly decreased (by 4-5 %) compared to preoperative values (p < 0.05). Saturation of peripheral oxygen was unchanged 1 year postoperatively compared to baseline. A significantly improved health-related quality of life was found 1 year after surgery, with improvements in all eight aspects of SF-36 (p < 0.001). Sternotomy-related pain was low 1 year postoperatively at rest (median 0 [min-max; 0-7]), while taking a deep breath (0 [0-4]) and while coughing (0 [0-8]). A more pronounced decrease in pulmonary function was associated with dyspnoea limitations and impaired subjective breathing and coughing ability.


One year after cardiac surgery static and dynamic lung function measurements were slightly decreased, while health-related quality of life was improved in comparison to preoperative values. Measured levels of pain were low and saturation of peripheral oxygen was same as preoperatively.


Cardiac surgery; Health-related quality of life; Postoperative complications; Respiratory function tests; Thoracic surgery

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