Association of perioperative myocardial ischemia with cardiac morbidity and mortality in men undergoing noncardiac surgery. The Study of Perioperative Ischemia Research Group

N Engl J Med. 1990 Dec 27;323(26):1781-8. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199012273232601.


Background: Adverse cardiac events are a major cause of morbidity and mortality after noncardiac surgery. It is necessary to determine the predictors of these outcomes in order to focus efforts on prevention and treatment. Patients undergoing noncardiac surgery sometimes have postoperative cardiac events. It would be helpful to know which patients are at highest risk.

Methods: We prospectively studied 474 men with coronary artery disease (243) or at high risk for it (231) who were undergoing elective noncardiac surgery. We gathered historical, clinical, laboratory, and physiologic data during hospitalization and for 6 to 24 months after surgery. Myocardial ischemia was assessed by continuous electrocardiographic monitoring, beginning two days before surgery and continuing for two days after.

Results: Eighty-three patients (18 percent) had postoperative cardiac events in the hospital that were classified as ischemic events (cardiac death, myocardial infarction, or unstable angina) (15 patients), congestive heart failure (30), or ventricular tachycardia (38). Postoperative myocardial ischemia occurred in 41 percent of the monitored patients and was associated with a 2.8-fold increase in the odds of all adverse cardiac outcomes (95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 4.9; P less than 0.0002) and a 9.2-fold increase in the odds of an ischemic event (95 percent confidence interval, 2.0 to 42.0; P less than 0.004). Multivariate analysis showed no other clinical, historical, or perioperative variable to be independently associated with ischemic events, including cardiac-risk index, a history of previous myocardial infarction or congestive heart failure, or the occurrence of ischemia before or during surgery.

Conclusions: In high-risk patients undergoing noncardiac surgery, early postoperative myocardial ischemia is an important correlate of adverse cardiac outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angina Pectoris / complications
  • Coronary Disease / diagnosis
  • Coronary Disease / etiology*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Myocardial Infarction / complications
  • Postoperative Complications* / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / adverse effects*