Background: Recurrent symptomatic pulmonary hypertension is uncommon after primary pulmonary thromboendarterectomy (PTE). We reviewed our experience with patients undergoing repeat PTE to determine the risk factors for recurrent disease, and the selection criteria, relative risks, and functional outcomes of reoperative PTE.
Methods: Since 1990, 13 of 870 (1.5%) patients underwent reoperative PTE at our institution. These 7 men and 6 women (mean age 38.6 years) were contrasted with the most recent 225 patients (111 men, 114 women, mean age 52.7 years) who underwent primary PTE for whom complete hemodynamic data are available. The preoperative evaluation of all patients was similar. Pulmonary hemodynamic data and outcome measures were compared between groups.
Results: Of 13 reoperated patients: 69% (9/13) had their primary operation at another institution, 54% (7/13) initially underwent unilateral PTE, 38% (5/13) had identifiable coagulation disorders, 38% (5/13) had ineffective caval filtration, 31% (4/13) had suboptimal anticoagulation management, and 31% (4/13) had complete unilateral pulmonary artery obstruction. The mean interval to reoperation was 5.2 years (range 0.7 to 10.9 years). All control patients underwent bilateral PTE using hypothermic circulatory arrest. Operative mortality was 7.7% (1/13) with reoperation vs 8.4% (19/225) in controls. No difference (p = NS) was observed between groups in the preoperative pulmonary artery pressure (PAP) or pulmonary vascular resistance; however, the control group had a significantly (p < 0.05) greater reduction in the postoperative PAP (46/19, mean 28 mm Hg vs 59/23, mean 35 mm Hg) and PVR (271 +/- 172 vs 399 +/- 154 dynes/s/cm(-5)) compared with the redo group. No substantial difference in morbidity or functional outcomes was observed between groups.
Conclusions: Reoperative PTE can be performed with a perioperative risk comparable with primary PTE, although the improvement in pulmonary hemodynamics is not as favorable. Bilateral primary operation, effective caval filtration, and vigilant anticoagulant management would prevent the need for most reoperative PTEs.