Temporal onset, risk factors, and outcomes associated with stroke after coronary artery bypass grafting

JAMA. 2011 Jan 26;305(4):381-90. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.37.


Context: Stroke is a devastating and potentially preventable complication of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Better understanding of the timing and risk factors for stroke associated with CABG are needed.

Objectives: To investigate temporal trends in stroke after CABG and to identify stroke risk factors and association with longitudinal outcomes.

Design, setting, and patients: Prospective study conducted from 1982 through 2009 at a single US academic medical center among 45,432 consecutive patients (mean age, 63 [SD, 10] years) undergoing isolated primary or reoperative CABG surgery. Strokes occurring following CABG were recorded prospectively and classified as having occurred intraoperatively or postoperatively. Complications and survival after stroke were assessed in propensity-matched groups.

Intervention: CABG performed using 4 different operative strategies (off-pump, on-pump with beating heart, on-pump with arrested heart, on-pump with hypothermic circulatory arrest).

Main outcome measures: Hospital complications; late survival.

Results: Among 45,432 patients undergoing CABG surgery, 705 (1.6% [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.4%-1.7%]) experienced a stroke. The prevalence of stroke peaked in 1988 at 2.6% (95% CI, 1.9%-3.4%), then declined at 4.69% (95% CI, 4.68%-4.70%) per year (P = .04), despite increasing patient comorbidity. Overall, 279 strokes (40%) occurred intraoperatively and 409 (58%) occurred postoperatively (timing indeterminate in 17 patients). Postoperative stroke peaked at 40 hours, decreasing to 0.055%/d (95% CI, 0.047%-0.065%) by day 6. Risk factors for both intraoperative and postoperative stroke included older age (odds ratio, 8.5 [95% CI, 3.2-22]) and variables representing arteriosclerotic burden. Intraoperative stroke rates were lowest in off-pump CABG (0.14% [95% CI, 0.029%-0.40%]) and on-pump beating-heart CABG (0% [95% CI, 0%-1.6%]), intermediate with on-pump arrested-heart CABG (0.50% [95% CI, 0.41%-0.61%]), and highest with on-pump CABG with hypothermic circulatory arrest (5.3% [95% CI, 2.0%-11%]). Patients with stroke had worse adjusted hospital outcomes, longer intensive care and postoperative stays, and worse downstream survival (mean, 11 [SD, 8.6] years).

Conclusion: Among patients undergoing CABG surgery at a single center over the past 30 years, the occurrence of stroke declined despite an increasing patient risk profile, and more than half of strokes occurred postoperatively rather than intraoperatively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Coronary Artery Bypass, Off-Pump / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / etiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors