Previous studies have suggested that low-risk cardiac surgical patients may be safely managed without pulmonary artery catheterization (PAC). However, no prospective studies have determined whether PAC improves outcome in higher risk patients compared with that following central venous pressure (CVP) monitoring alone. The authors prospectively examined the incidence of and factors related to perioperative morbidity and mortality in 1094 consecutive patients undergoing coronary artery surgery managed with elective PAC (n = 537) or with CVP (n = 557). Perioperative risk factors and demographics that predict morbidity and mortality after cardiac surgery were used to quantify risk classification. Outcome was judged by length of ICU stay, occurrence of postoperative myocardial infarction, in-hospital death, major hemodynamic aberrations, and significant noncardiac systemic complications. No significant differences in any outcome variables were noted in any group of patients with similar quantitative risk classification managed with or without PAC, including those in the highest risk class. In addition, there were no significant differences in outcome among 39 patients who would have been managed with CVP monitoring only, but who subsequently developed a clinical need for PAC based on the occurrence of serious hemodynamic events compared to patients who had PAC performed electively. This study suggests that PAC does not play a major role in influencing outcome after cardiac surgery, that even high-risk cardiac surgical patients may be safely managed without routine PAC, and that delaying PAC until a clinical need develops does not significantly alter outcome, but may have an important impact on cost savings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine