Postoperative Critical Care of the Adult Cardiac Surgical Patient: Part II: Procedure-Specific Considerations, Management of Complications, and Quality Improvement

Crit Care Med. 2015 Sep;43(9):1995-2014. doi: 10.1097/CCM.0000000000001171.


Objectives: The armamentarium of cardiac surgery continues to expand, and the cardiac intensivist must be familiar with a broad spectrum of procedures and their specific management concerns. In the conclusion of this two-part review, we will review procedure-specific concerns after cardiac surgery and the management of common complications. We also discuss performance improvement and outcome assurance.

Data source and synthesis: Narrative review of relative English language peer-reviewed medical literature.

Conclusions: Knowledge of procedure-specific sequelae informs anticipation and prevention of many complications after cardiac surgery. Most complications after cardiac surgery fall into a limited number of categories. Familiarity with common complications combined with a structured approach to management facilitates response to even the most complicated postoperative situations. Standardized care and constant self-examination are essential for programmatic improvement and consistent high-quality care.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / surgery
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Cardiac Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Critical Care / standards
  • Heart Valves / surgery
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Care / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Care / methods*
  • Postoperative Care / standards
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Postoperative Complications / radiotherapy*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Quality Improvement / organization & administration*