Background: Acute changes in cerebral function after elective coronary bypass surgery is a difficult clinical problem. We carried out a multicenter study to determine the incidence and predictors of -- and the use of resources associated with -- perioperative adverse neurologic events, including cerebral injury.
Methods: In a prospective study, we evaluated 2108 patients from 24 U.S. institutions for two general categories of neurologic outcome: type I (focal injury, or stupor or coma at discharge) and type II (deterioration in intellectual function, memory deficit, or seizures).
Results: Adverse cerebral outcomes occurred in 129 patients (6.1 percent). A total of 3.1 percent had type I neurologic outcomes (8 died of cerebral injury, 55 had nonfatal strokes, 2 had transient ischemic attacks, and 1 had stupor), and 3.0 percent had type II outcomes (55 had deterioration of intellectual function and 8 had seizures). Patients with adverse cerebral outcomes had higher in-hospital mortality (21 percent of patients with type I outcomes died, vs. 10 percent of those with type II and 2 percent of those with no adverse cerebral outcome; P<0.001 for all comparisons), longer hospitalization (25 days with type I outcomes, 21 days with type II, and 10 days with no adverse outcome; P<0.001), and a higher rate of discharge to facilities for intermediate- or long-term care (69 percent, 39 percent, and 10 percent ; P<0.001). Predictors of type I outcomes were proximal aortic atherosclerosis, a history of neurologic disease, and older age; predictors of type II outcomes were older age, systolic hypertension on admission, pulmonary disease, and excessive consumption of alcohol.
Conclusions: Adverse cerebral outcomes after coronary bypass surgery are relatively common and serious; they are associated with substantial increases in mortality, length of hospitalization, and use of intermediate- or long-term care facilities. New diagnostic and therapeutic strategies must be developed to lessen such injury.