Estimating the risk of complications related to re-exploration for bleeding after adult cardiac surgery: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2012 Jan;41(1):50-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcts.2011.04.023.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of re-exploration for bleeding after cardiac surgery on the immediate postoperative outcome.

Methods: Systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis of data on re-exploration for bleeding after adult cardiac surgery were performed.

Results: The literature search yielded eight observational studies reporting on 557,923 patients and were included in the present analysis. Patients requiring re-exploration were significantly older, more frequently males, had a higher prevalence of peripheral vascular disease and preoperative exposure to aspirin, and more frequently underwent urgent/emergency surgery. Re-exploration was associated with significantly increased risk ratio (RR) of immediate postoperative mortality (RR 3.27, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.44-4.37), stroke, need of intra-aortic balloon pump, acute renal failure, sternal wound infection, and prolonged mechanical ventilation. The pooled analysis of four studies (two being propensity score-matched pairs analysis) reporting adjusted risk for mortality led to an RR of 2.56 (95%CI 1.46-4.50). Studies published during the last decade tended to report a higher risk of re-exploration-related mortality (RR 4.30, 95%CI 3.09-5.97) than those published in the 1990s (RR 2.75, 95%CI 2.06-3.66).

Conclusions: This study suggests that re-exploration for bleeding after cardiac surgery carries a significantly increased risk of postoperative mortality and morbidity.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / mortality
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / surgery*
  • Prognosis
  • Reoperation / adverse effects
  • Reoperation / mortality
  • Risk Assessment / methods