+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: not found

      Clinical versus actual outcome in cardiac surgery: a post-mortem study.

      European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery : Official Journal of the European Association for Cardio-thoracic Surgery

      Statistics, Nonparametric, Aged, Autopsy, Cardiac Surgical Procedures, mortality, Cause of Death, Chi-Square Distribution, Female, Great Britain, epidemiology, Heart Diseases, diagnosis, surgery, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Prospective Studies, Registries, Risk Assessment, Sensitivity and Specificity

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Clinical attribution of the cause of death can be misleading, with the only true outcome measure being post-mortem analysis. Despite this there is very little published data on post-mortems following cardiac surgery. Prospective consecutive post-mortem data were collected on 167 patients (84.4% of all in-hospital cardiac surgical deaths) in a single institution. Clinical diagnoses were compared with post-mortem findings. The mean age at death was 69.8 with 67.6% male. The proportion undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) alone was 52.1%, valve surgery 18.6%, valve+CABG 19.2% and other procedures 10.1%. The mean time to death was 7.9 days (range 0-87). The causes of death were cardiac 67.7%, gastrointestinal 9.6%, respiratory 8.4%, haemorrhage/technical failure 4.8%, stroke (cerebrovascular accident) 3.6%, multiorgan failure 3.0%, sepsis 1.8%, malignancy 0. 6% and trauma 0.6%. Post-mortem revealed an unsuspected cause of death in 19 (11.4%). These were gastrointestinal (infarction nine, perforation two), cardiac three, adult respiratory distress syndrome two, technical two and pulmonary embolus one. In addition, an unsuspected lung cancer was found in 1 patient who died of cardiac causes. When cardiac deaths were compared with non-cardiac causes the Parsonnet score was higher 20.0 (+/-1.4) vs. 15.3 (+/-1.6), P=0. 07; and a greater proportion tended to have poor ejection fractions (34 vs. 15%), P=0.12. There was no significant difference between the groups in terms of age, sex, operation, hypertension, diabetes, creatinine and body mass. Post-mortem can determine unsuspected diagnoses in a significant proportion of cases. Pre-operative risk factors do not correlate with eventual cause of death. Post-mortem still has an important role to play in cardiac surgery.

          Related collections

          Author and article information



          Comment on this article