Do Patients in Congestive Cardiac Failure Undergoing Cardiac Surgery Demonstrate Worse Outcomes Compared with Those with a History of Cardiac Failure?


  • Saina Attaran
  • Matthew Shaw
  • Laura Bond
  • Mark D. Pullan
  • Brian M. Fabri



Objectives: Cardiac surgery in patients with symptoms of congestive cardiac failure (CCF) carries a significant risk of mortality and morbidity. Except for emergencies and in unstable cases, the recommendation has been to delay the operation until the patient is fully recovered. The objective of this study was to determine the consequences of cardiac surgery in patients with acute decompensated heart failure and to compare their outcomes with the results of the operation in patients with previous CCF.

Methods: We compared the outcomes of patients with CCF (n = 707) at the time of cardiac surgery (valve replacement or coronary artery bypass grafting [CABG]) with those with a history of CCF (n = 1583). The EuroSCORE was significantly higher in CCF patients (P < .001). Impaired renal function was also more commonly observed in patients with CCF (P < .001). After adjusting for preoperative characteristics, we compared the 2 groups with respect to postoperative complications, postoperative creatine kinase MB values, and in-hospital mortality.

Results: Before adjusting for preoperative characteristics, we found that in-hospital mortality (15.5%) and postoperative complications, such as arrhythmias (31%), renal failure (19%), stroke (4.7%), and myocardial infarction (MI) (3%), were significantly higher in the CCF group than in those with a previous history of CCF. When the patients were matched for preoperative characteristics, the rates of postoperative MI and arrhythmia were the main complications that were significantly higher in the CCF group, compared with the patients with previous CCF. The 2 groups were not significantly different with respect to in-hospital mortality. The results were not affected by the type of procedure (valve or CABG), and the main factor influencing mortality was the EuroSCORE.

Conclusion: Despite the significant risk of mortality and morbidity in patients with current CCF, cardiac surgery to reverse the cause should not be delayed in these patients, because doing so may lead to further deterioration. Other risk factors, however, should be taken into consideration on an individual basis.


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How to Cite

Attaran, S., Shaw, M., Bond, L., Pullan, M. D., & Fabri, B. M. (2011). Do Patients in Congestive Cardiac Failure Undergoing Cardiac Surgery Demonstrate Worse Outcomes Compared with Those with a History of Cardiac Failure?. The Heart Surgery Forum, 14(3), E178-E182.