Re-exploration Early after Cardiac Surgery in Adults: The Importance of Bleeding-Related Complications
Background: Re-explorations soon after cardiac surgery are mostly related to bleeding or unclear hemodynamic situations possibly related to heart compression resulting from pericardial hematoma. This condition has a significant impact on mortality, morbidity, and costs. The aim of this study was to analyze indications and outcomes of re-exploration for bleeding or pericardial tamponade early after cardiac surgery in adults.
Methods: The clinical data of 4790 consecutive adult patients who underwent cardiac surgery in our institution from January 2011 to May 2016 were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: We identified 331 re-explorations performed in 231 patients. Sixty-seven of these patients had >1 re-
exploration. In most cases (88%), repeat sternotomy was performed. Most procedures (57%) were performed within the first 48 hours. In two-thirds of re-explorations, active bleeding or pericardial hematoma was verified. In the remaining cases, neither bleeding nor significant pericardial hematoma leading to tamponade was found. Among the cases with active bleeding causes, the most bleeding sites were found to be at the coronary anastomosis and the epicardial exposure harvesting site, as well as from the side branches of bypass grafts and intercostal arteries.
Conclusions: The incidence of re-exploration after cardiac surgery in adults was low (4.8%). In about two-thirds of the cases, active bleeding or significant pericardial hematoma was found. The most common bleeding causes were the easiest to treat.
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