Cardiac Surgery

Published on 26/03/2015 by admin

Filed under Critical Care Medicine

Last modified 26/03/2015

Print this page

rate 1 star rate 2 star rate 3 star rate 4 star rate 5 star
Your rating: none, Average: 0 (0 votes)

This article have been viewed 1224 times

89 Cardiac Surgery

Indications and Complications

Since the first clinical use of the heart-lung machine developed by Gibbon in 1953, cardiac surgery has become a standard technique worldwide for the treatment of congenital and acquired cardiac diseases. Sixty years of trial and error since then have seen much progress: the development of mechanical assist devices, percutaneous valve therapies, and robotic surgery to name just a handful. This chapter reviews the specific indications for cardiac surgery and discusses some of the most frequent postoperative complications.

image Surgical Indications for Coronary Artery Diseases

In the early 1990s, three large multicenter randomized trials were undertaken in Europe and the United States. The Veterans Administration Cooperative Study, the European Coronary Surgery Study, and the Coronary Artery Surgery Study indicated that patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) always had extended survival compared with medically treated patients.1 Since then, medical treatment has evolved, with the advent of plaque stabilizers and percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA). Nowadays, referring a patient to medical treatment or PTCA or surgery is an expert decision based on appropriateness criteria2 and often discussed on multidisciplinary rounds. In patients with myocardial ischemia, indications for surgery will be based on symptoms (Canadian Cardiovascular Society classification [CCS]), medical history (left ventricular [LV] function, diabetes), and sets of lesions defined by the anatomic localization of the coronary artery stenosis on a coronarography and best defined by the Syntax score.3

In acute coronary syndromes, most clinical scenarios are amenable to revascularization, except for ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with onset of symptoms later than 12 hours. Even patients in shock will benefit from revascularization compared with medical treatment.4,5 In less acute ischemia, the indication for revascularization will depend on symptoms classified according to the CCS. Most asymptomatic patients will benefit from medical treatment, whereas most symptomatic patients will benefit from invasive treatment. Surgery is preferred over PTCA in three situations:

The improvement of long-term survival is even more striking in the presence of LV dysfunction and diabetes.

Use of a saphenous graft has been supplanted by total arterial revascularization.6,7,8 Although surgery is certainly the best method to restore coronary flow, it is also the most invasive one, with attendant complications. Less invasive CABG procedures may broaden surgical indications by reducing morbidity and mortality. Efforts have been made to reduce handling of the heart to cannulate, avoid cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), and avoid sternal splitting. Current efforts are made in various directions.

While initially very promising, off-pump CABG performed via sternotomy on a beating heart—avoiding CPB and heart handling—has somehow failed to show real advantages, mainly because it is more technically demanding, and studies may have suffered from performance biases.9 Minimally invasive direct coronary artery bypass (MIDCAB) performed via a small left thoracotomy without CPB is widely accepted but limited to bypass of one artery: the left anterior descending (LAD) artery. CABG with femorofemoral CPB or off-pump techniques using thoracoscopic instruments and the support of a robot (da Vinci system) are under investigation worldwide and need large-scale validation but are certainly part of the armamentarium of tomorrow.10 These newer techniques are also combined with PTCA in hybrid procedures, narrowing the gap between cardiology and cardiac surgery.11

image Surgical Indications for Aortic Valve Surgery

Aortic Stenosis

Echocardiography is the most efficient technique to evaluate the degree of stenosis, LV hypertrophy, and LV function in patients with aortic valve stenosis.12 The American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines has graded the degree of aortic stenosis as mild (effective valve area >1.5 cm2), moderate (area >1 to 1.5 cm2), or severe (area ≤1 cm2).13 When stenosis is severe and cardiac output is normal, the mean transvalvular pressure gradient is generally greater than 50 mm Hg. Symptomatic patients (dyspnea, angina, or palpitations) with severe stenosis are candidates for surgery (class 1 recommendation), as are asymptomatic patients with reduced ventricular function (left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] <50%) or patients undergoing any other cardiac surgery (CABG, mitral valve, or thoracic aorta). When cardiac output is reduced, transvalvular gradient is reduced (low flow/low output), and estimation of the severity of the stenosis may require advanced diagnostic tools such as stress test, echocardiography, or pressure measurement in the cath lab. An accurate estimation of the degree of stenosis is essential in those patients with low cardiac output who, despite being at high risk for surgery, do better than with medical treatment if correctly diagnosed.14

Management of patients with coronary artery disease who will have CABG and are incidentally diagnosed with mild to moderate aortic stenosis during workup is controversial. For asymptomatic patients with mild aortic stenosis (mean gradient between 30 and 50 mm Hg) who require CABG, it may be reasonable to replace the valve (class IIa recommendation). For patients with lower mean gradient, leaving the native valve is advised unless there is a risk of rapid progression, such as important calcification (class IIb).15 In very high risk patients, transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) is presently in its evaluation phase.16

Aortic Regurgitation

Chronic aortic regurgitation is usually well tolerated, and pure regurgitation is not considered for surgery unless severe (i.e., regurgitant volume >60 mL per beat or regurgitant orifice >0.3 cm2) in a symptomatic patient at rest (class I) or on exercise testing (class I) or in an asymptomatic patient with LV dysfunction (LVEF <50%) (class I) or with LV enlargement (end-systolic diameter >55 mm or end-diastolic diameter >75 mm) (class IIa).13 Symptomatic patients with mild aortic regurgitation should be investigated for other causes (ischemic cardiomyopathy). Regurgitation due to cusp lesions such as calcifications or destruction due to endocarditis are indications for valve replacement, except perhaps in very experienced hands in which repair is sometimes performed. Regurgitation due to annular enlargement with none or very little cusp lesion is now usually repaired with good results.17,18 In the latter, annular enlargement is often concomitant with ascending aortic enlargement, and the aorta is replaced by a valve conduit if repair is not feasible or by a straight Dacron tube, with the native valve resuspended.19

image Surgical Indications for Mitral Valve Surgery

Indications for mitral valve surgery have changed with the extension of mitral valve repair. With a better understanding of the specific anatomic lesions of the mitral valve associated with improvements in the surgical techniques, successful mitral repair can be achieved in specific ischemic and nonischemic mitral regurgitation.13

Mitral Regurgitation

Mitral regurgitation is responsible for pulmonary hypertension, left atrial enlargement with atrial fibrillation, and excessive workload on the heart, leading to dyspnea. Much work has been done on the mechanisms and causes of mitral regurgitation, pioneered by Carpentier and colleagues in the early 1980s; advances include the development of repair techniques other than systematic valve replacement. In experienced hands, more than 90% of regurgitant valves are repaired, avoiding problems associated with prosthetic valves (degeneration, need for anticoagulation, prosthetic valve infection). The lower morbidity related to valve repair has broadened the indication for mitral valve surgery to asymptomatic patients with no ventricular dysfunction and no pulmonary hypertension or atrial fibrillation, if the regurgitant surface is more than 40 mm. In those patients, repair is mandatory, whereas in patients with any of the aforementioned complications of regurgitation, replacement is an option.20,21 Recently, minimally invasive approaches through a 5-cm thoracotomy have been successfully applied to mitral repair and are gaining wide acceptance.22,23

Most mitral valves successfully repaired suffer from structural abnormalities and are identified as organic mitral regurgitation. Functional mitral regurgitation is the term used when the valve has no anatomic defect but is incompetent secondary to LV dysfunction, annulus dilation, or papillary muscle dysfunction. In some cases, CABG alone may improve LV function and reduce mitral regurgitation. Some advocate the use of ring annuloplasty or ventricular reduction surgery, but results are less convincing than in structural disorders.24

In long-standing mitral regurgitation, chronic right ventricular overload causes tricuspid regurgitation and atrial enlargement, promoting atrial fibrillation. Tricuspid regurgitation and atrial fibrillation also have to be assessed during the intervention, with a tricuspid annuloplasty and lesions made to the atria to stop reentrant circuits causing the arrhythmia.25,26

Ascending Aorta

Dilation of the ascending aorta is associated with hypertension, atherosclerotic disease, and structural (bicuspid aortic diseases)27 and genetic factors that arise with entities such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. When reaching threshold values28 or when rapidly enlarging, dilated ascending aortas present a risk of rupture and dissection, prompt surgery is indicated.29 In patients with structural arterial wall abnormalities, surgery is warranted when the largest diameter is 45 mm, while in general population 55 mm is the cutoff value for surgery.30

Dissection of the ascending aorta presents in almost every patient with pain, cardiac tamponade, or acute or poorly tolerated aortic regurgitation requiring urgent surgical correction.

Axillary cannulation and selective cerebral perfusion have permitted more thorough repair of aneurysm and dissection of the ascending aorta, prolonging in the aortic arch. Actual development is directed towards one-step treatment of the entire thoracic aorta.31

image Complications After Cardiac Surgery

Patients after cardiac surgery under CPB require close observation and prompt intervention if required.

Bleeding and Cardiac Tamponade

Hemostasis is deeply altered after cardiac surgery under CPB.32 Problems include decreased platelet numbers and function and activation of the coagulation and fibrinolytic cascade. All these factors, associated with cytokine activation and kallikrein stimulation of neutrophils, lead to a propensity for patients to bleed after the procedure.

Besides careful surgical techniques, diffuse bleeding can be prevented.33 Patients should be rapidly rewarmed at 37°C, since hypothermia inhibits coagulation and alters platelet function. Arterial hypertension should be aggressively treated in the first 24 hours with short-acting drugs. Even if transfusion affects long-term outcome,3436 one should not be afraid to transfuse blood components: packed red blood cells, platelets, and plasma are to be given in a bleeding patient even before coagulation results are available. Correction of fluid deficits with crystalloid or colloid infusion induces some degree of hemodilution, contributing to altered hemostasis. If the patient is bleeding, correcting hemostasis according to lab results actually corrects a past situation, so blood components must be given on an empirical basis. When the coagulation tests are available, specific measures are taken; prolonged partial thromboplastin time (PTT) should be treated with a protamine supplement first, before fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is considered. Whereas prolonged prothrombin time is treated with FFP and cryoprecipitate, low platelet count should be corrected by platelet transfusion. A normal platelet count does not exclude platelet dysfunction, so a platelet transfusion may be indicated even in the presence of a normal platelet count if the patient had been treated by antiplatelet agents, is uremic, or is suspected of von Willebrand disease. In the latter patients, the use of desmopressin is warranted. The use of aprotinin, once commonly given to reduce bleeding in cardiac surgery, has been abandoned in view of its serious side effects.

Blood losses must be monitored as long as drains are in place. Reoperation must be considered if the bleeding rate exceeds 300 mL/h for 3 consecutive hours or 1000 mL/h during the first 4 to 5 hours after the procedure in adult patients. Early reexploration for bleeding is indicated in 0.5% to 5% of cardiac surgery patients, depending on institutional criteria. Early reoperation generally stops the bleeding even if no bleeding origin is found.

Cardiac tamponade may occur if excessive bleeding persists. To prevent it, chest drainage must be placed properly in the operating room, and aspiration must be applied early to avoid blood accumulation in the pericardium and pleural space. Hypotension and pulsus paradoxus are early signs of tamponade; suspicion should be high if the bleeding abruptly decreases, and transesophageal echo is mandatory to diagnose it. Tamponade can result from circumferential effusion or from a local hematoma compressing the left or right atrium. Delayed cardiac tamponade may also occur within days after cardiac surgery. If required, drainage is performed via a reopening of the incision below the xiphoid process.