Pulmonary artery catheter use in adult patients undergoing cardiac surgery: a retrospective, cohort study

Perioper Med (Lond). 2018 Oct 25:7:24. doi: 10.1186/s13741-018-0103-x. eCollection 2018.


Background: The utility of pulmonary artery catheters (PACs) and their measurements depend on a variety of factors including data interpretation and personnel training. This US multi-center, retrospective electronic health record (EHR) database analysis was performed to identify associations between PAC use in adult cardiac surgeries and effects on subsequent clinical outcomes.

Methods: This cohort analysis utilized the Cerner Health Facts database to examine patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), isolated valve surgery, aortic surgery, other complex non-valvular and multi-cardiac procedures, and/or heart transplant from January 1, 2011, to June 30, 2015. A total of 6844 adults in two cohorts, each with 3422 patients who underwent a qualifying cardiac procedure with or without the use of a PAC for monitoring purposes, were included. Patients were matched 1:1 using a propensity score based upon the date and type of surgery, hospital demographics, modified European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation (EuroSCORE II), and patient characteristics. Primary outcomes of 30-day in-hospital mortality, length of stay, cardiopulmonary morbidity, and infectious morbidity were analyzed after risk adjustment for acute physiology score.

Results: There was no difference in the 30-day in-hospital mortality rate between treatment groups (OR, 1.17; 95% CI, 0.65-2.10; p = 0.516). PAC use was associated with a decreased length of stay (9.39 days without a PAC vs. 8.56 days with PAC; p < 0.001), a decreased cardiopulmonary morbidity (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.79-0.96; p < 0.001), and an increased infectious morbidity (OR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.10-1.49; p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Use of a PAC during adult cardiac surgery is associated with decreased length of stay, reduced cardiopulmonary morbidity, and increased infectious morbidity but no increase in the 30-day in-hospital mortality. This suggests an overall potential benefit associated with PAC-based monitoring in this population.

Trial registration: The study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02964026) on November 15, 2016.

Keywords: Cardiac surgery; Cardiopulmonary complications; Infectious complications; Length-of-stay; Major morbidity; Mortality; Pulmonary artery catheter (PAC).

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02964026