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Ann Thorac Surg. 1997 Aug;64(2):368-73; discussion 373-4.

Intraoperative echocardiography is indicated in high-risk coronary artery bypass grafting.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195, USA.



Intraoperative echocardiography is a valuable monitoring and diagnostic technology used in cardiac surgery. This reports our clinical study of the usefulness of intraoperative echocardiography to both surgeons and anesthesiologists for high-risk coronary artery bypass grafting.


From March to November 1995, 82 consecutive high-risk patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting were studied in a four-stage protocol to determine the efficacy of intraoperative echocardiography in management planning. Alterations in surgical and anesthetic/hemodynamic management initiated by intraoperative echocardiography findings were documented in addition to perioperative morbidity and mortality.


Intraoperative echocardiography initiated at least one major surgical management alteration in 27 patients (33%) and at least one major anesthetic/hemodynamic change in 42 (51%). Mortality and the rate of myocardial infarction in this consecutive high-risk study population using intraoperative echocardiography and in a similar group of patients without the use of intraoperative echocardiography was 1.2% versus 3.8% (not significant) and 1.2% versus 3.5% (not significant), respectively.


We conclude that when all of the isolated diagnostic and monitoring applications of perioperative echocardiography are routinely and systematically performed together, it is a safe and viable tool that significantly affects the decision-making process in the intraoperative care of high-risk patients undergoing primary isolated coronary artery bypass grafting and may contribute to the optimal care of these patients.

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