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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2003 October;44(5):583-9

language: English

Is early hospital discharge feasible following normothermic coronary artery surgey on the fibrillating heart?

Casula R. P. 1, Velissaris T. J. 2, Dar M. 2, Athanasiou T. 1

1 Department of Cardiothoracic Sur­gery, St. Mary’s Hospital, London, UK
2 Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, UK


Aim. Protocols for the earlier discharge of cardiac surgical patients are gaining popularity. We present our experience with an early hospital discharge policy following coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) on the fibrillating heart.
Methods. Three-hundred and ninety-two consecutive patients who underwent elective CABG by a single surgeon were retrospectively reviewed. CABG was performed initially (1998-1999) in 191 patients with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) normothermia, intermittent aortic cross-clamping (AXC) and ventricular fibrillation and later (2001-2003) in 201 patients without CPB. Emphasis was given on short AXC and CPB times, early extubation, early mobilization and atrial fibrillation prophylaxis. Discharge criteria were as follows: walking on stairs unassisted, sinus rhythm for 24 hours, normal bowel function, apyrexia, family support at home. A 6-week follow-up clinic visit was arranged. Hospital re-admissions were carefully monitored.
Results. The mean (±SD) age of the patients was 62±9.6 years and the mean Parsonnet score was 6.7. The mean hospital stay was 6.1±2.5 days. Sixty-three (16%) and 171 (44%) patients were discharged by postoperative day 4 and 5, respectively. The following factors were independently associated with longer hospital stay: number of grafts performed (>3), requirement for postoperative inotropic support and social circumstances inadequate for early discharge. Twenty-three patients (5.8%) were re-admitted in the 6-week postoperative period. Shorter hospital stay was not associated with increased risk of re-admission.
Conclusion. Early discharge after CABG with ventricular fibrillation is achievable, comparable to “fast-track techniques” without the use of CPB and is not associated with higher re-admission rates. We recommend the routine use of this protocol in all patients undergoing primary elective CABG.

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