Background: A retrospective review was performed to determine the outcome after cardiac operations in patients with a documented history of noncardiac cirrhosis.
Methods: The charts of patients admitted to the cardiothoracic surgical service between 1990 and 1996 were reviewed, and 13 patients with a preoperative history of cirrhosis were identified. The severity of preoperative liver disease was graded according to the criteria of Child.
Results: Most of the cases of cirrhosis were alcohol-related. Eight patients were classified as having Child class A and 5 as having Child class B cirrhosis. One hundred percent of patients with Child class B and 25% of those with Child class A cirrhosis had major complications. The postoperative chest tube output and transfusion requirements of these patients were approximately three times higher than average. The overall perioperative mortality rate was 31%. In patients with Child class B cirrhosis, the mortality rate was 80%. No patient with Child class A cirrhosis died. Deaths were related to gastrointestinal and septic complications, and not to cardiovascular failure.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that patients with minimal clinical evidence of cirrhosis can tolerate cardiopulmonary bypass and cardiac surgical procedures, whereas those with more advanced liver disease should not be offered operation.