Publications by authors named "John V Conte"

199 Publications

Unicuspid Aortic Valve Repair Using Geometric Ring Annuloplasty.

Ann Thorac Surg 2021 04 30;111(4):1359-1366. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Unicuspid aortic valves (Sievers type 2 bicuspid) are characterized by major fusion and clefting of the right-left coronary commissure, and minor fusion of the right-noncoronary commissure. Repair has been difficult because of two fusions, variable relative sinus sizes, and peripheral leaflet deficiencies or tears after balloon valvuloplasty.

Methods: Twenty unicuspid aortic valves patients underwent valve repair in nine institutions. Right-left major fusion and right-noncoronary minor fusion occurred in 17 of 20 (85%). Commissurotomy was performed on the minor fusion, and a bicuspid annuloplasty ring with circular base geometry and two 180-degree subcommissural posts was sutured beneath the annulus, equalizing the annular circumferences of the fused and nonfused cusps. The nonfused leaflet was plicated, and the cleft in the major fusion was closed linearly until leaflet effective heights and lengths became greater than 8 mm and equal, respectively.

Results: Average age (mean ± SD) was 22.3 ± 12.3 years (range, 13 to 58), 12 of 20 (60%) were symptomatic, 10 of 20 (50%) required aortic aneurysm resection. Pre-repair hemodynamic data included mean systolic valve gradient 25.8 ± 12.9 mm Hg, aortic insufficiency grade 2.9 ± 1.2, and annular diameter 24.7 ± 3.3 mm. No mortality or major complications occurred. Post-repair annular (ring) size was 20.5 ± 1.3 mm, mean gradient fell to 16.2 ± 5.9 mm Hg, and aortic insufficiency grade decreased to 0.1 ± 0.3 (P < .001). At an average follow-up of 11 months (range, 1 to 22), all 20 patients were asymptomatic and had returned to full activity.

Conclusions: Aortic ring annuloplasty reduced annular diameter effectively, recruiting more leaflet to midline coaptation. Minor fusion commissurotomy and annular remodeling to 180-degree commissures converted UAV repair to a simple and reproducible procedure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2020.04.147DOI Listing
April 2021

Postoperative chemotherapy and radiation improve survival following cardiac sarcoma resection.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019 Nov 28. Epub 2019 Nov 28.

Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, The Pennsylvania State University, Hershey, Pa.

Objective: Cardiac sarcoma represents a rare and aggressive form of cancer with a paucity of data to produce outcome-driven evidence-based guidelines. Current surgical management consists of resection with postoperative therapy (chemotherapy, radiation, or both) offered on a selective, individualized basis. This study was designed to determine whether postoperative therapy was associated with improved overall survival after resection.

Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients with cardiac sarcoma between 2004 and 2015. Patient characteristics were stratified by treatment (surgical, nonsurgical, and none), and treatment was analyzed by stage. Overall survival, assessed with Kaplan-Meier methodology, was compared between patients who received postoperative therapy and those who did not following resection. Multivariable survival modeling using a Weibull model identified risk factors associated with survival while controlling for confounders.

Results: The study included 617 patients diagnosed with cardiac sarcoma. Only 24% (149/617) of patients were diagnosed with early-stage disease. Angiosarcoma represented 48% (298/617) of cases and was the most commonly identified histologic subtype. 60% (372/617) underwent surgical resection and 58% (216/372) of those patients were treated with postoperative therapy. Following surgery, median survival was more than doubled for patients treated with postoperative therapy (19 months vs 8 months, P = .026). However, 5-year overall survival was similar between the groups. Multivariable analysis confirmed an improvement in survival with postoperative therapy (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.51-0.91, P = .009).

Conclusions: Postoperative therapy is associated with better median survival following resection of cardiac sarcoma. However, at 5 years, the difference in overall survival is not statistically significant.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2019.10.016DOI Listing
November 2019

Longitudinal Outcomes After Surgical Repair of Postinfarction Ventricular Septal Defect in the Medicare Population.

Ann Thorac Surg 2020 04 25;109(4):1243-1250. Epub 2019 Sep 25.

Division of Cardiac Surgery and Heart and Vascular Institute, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Electronic address:

Background: Patients undergoing post infarction ventricular septal defect repair are at high risk for early morbidity and mortality, but little is known about subsequent clinical events. This study uses short-term clinical data from The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database linked with Medicare data to examine longer term outcomes in these patients.

Methods: This was a retrospective review of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons National Database to link with Medicare data all adults (≥65 years) who underwent ventricular septal defect repair after a myocardial infarction between 2008 and 2012. The primary outcome was 1-year mortality. Risk factors for 1-year survival were modeled using a multivariable Cox regression.

Results: Five hundred thirty-seven patients were identified using The Society of Thoracic Surgeons database and Medicare linkage. Median age was 74 years, and 277 patients (52%) were men. One hundred ninety-two patients (36%) were supported preoperatively with an intraaortic balloon pump. Surgical status was emergent or salvage in 138 (26%), and 158 patients (29%) died within 30 days and 207 (39%) within 1 year. Among patients who survived to hospital discharge, 44% were discharged to a facility and 172 (32%) experienced at least 1 all-cause readmission within 1 year. Unadjusted 1-year mortality rates were 13% for elective patients and 69% for emergency status (P < .01). On multivariable analysis emergency/salvage status, older age, and concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting were independently associated with worse 1-year survival.

Conclusions: These data suggest the greatest mortality risk in this patient population occurs in the first 30 days. Emergency or salvage status strongly predicts 1-year mortality. Optimizing physiologic derangements before operative repair may be considered when possible in this subgroup of patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.08.024DOI Listing
April 2020

Variation in Platelet Transfusion Practices in Cardiac Surgery.

Innovations (Phila) 2019 Apr 18;14(2):134-143. Epub 2019 Mar 18.

4 Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Objective: Although the morbidity associated with red blood cell transfusion in cardiac surgery has been well described, the impacts of platelet transfusion are less clearly understood. Given the conflicting results of prior studies, we sought to investigate the impact of platelet transfusion on outcomes after cardiac surgery across institutions in Maryland.

Methods: Using a multiinstitutional statewide database created by the Maryland Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative, we retrospectively analyzed data from 10,478 patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass across 10 centers. Platelet transfusion practices were compared between institutions. Multivariate logistic regression model was used to analyze the association between platelet transfusion and 30-day mortality and postoperative complications.

Results: Rates of platelet transfusion varied between institutions from 4.4% to 24.7% ( P < 0.001), a difference that remained statistically significant in propensity score-matched cohorts. Among patients on preoperative antiplatelet therapy, transfusion rates varied from 8.5% to 46.4% ( P < 0.001). There was no statistically significant relationship between case volume and transfusion rates ( P = 0.815). In multivariate logistic regression, platelet transfusion was associated with increased risk of 30-day mortality (OR 2.43, P = 0.008), postoperative pneumonia (OR 2.21, P = 0.004), prolonged intubation (OR 2.05, P < 0.001), and readmission (OR 1.43, P = 0.039).

Conclusions: Significant variation existed in platelet transfusion rates between institutions, even after controlling for various risk factors. This variation may be associated with increased mortality and length of stay. Further study is warranted to better understand risks associated with platelet transfusion. Standardizing practice may help reduce risk and conserve resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1556984519836839DOI Listing
April 2019

Comparing Frailty Markers in Predicting Poor Outcomes after Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement.

Innovations (Phila) 2019 Feb 20;14(1):43-54. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

4 Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, PA, USA.

Introduction: Frailty is an important component of risk prognostication in transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Objective markers of frailty, including sarcopenia, the modified Frailty Index (mFI), and albumin levels, have emerged, but little is known how such markers compare to each other in predicting outcomes after TAVR. We sought to define and compare these markers in predicting long-term outcomes after TAVR.

Methods: Patients who underwent TAVR at our institution from 2011 to 2016 were included. Indexed cross-sectional areas of the lumbosacral muscles on preoperative computed tomography scans were used to assess sarcopenia. Optimal cutoffs for sarcopenia were defined using a statistically validated method. mFI was calculated using an 11-point scale of clinical characteristics. The primary outcome was 2-year all-cause mortality. Adjusted survival analysis was used to analyze outcomes.

Results: A total of 381 patients were included in this study. Sarcopenia of the psoas muscles was associated with an increased risk of mortality on univariate (HR: 2.3, P = 0.01) and multivariate (HR: 2.5, P = 0.01) analysis. Sarcopenia of the paravertebral muscles was associated with increased risk of mortality only on univariate analysis (HR: 2.1, P = 0.03). Increased preoperative albumin levels were associated with decreased risk of mortality on univariate (HR: 0.3, P < 0.01) and multivariate analysis (HR: 0.3, P < 0.01). The (mFI) was not associated with mortality on univariate or multivariate analysis.

Discussion: Novel cutoffs for sarcopenia of the psoas muscles were determined and associated with decreased survival after TAVR. Sarcopenia and albumin levels may be better tools for risk prediction than mFI in TAVR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1556984519827698DOI Listing
February 2019

Clinical impact of baseline chronic kidney disease in patients undergoing transcatheter or surgical aortic valve replacement.

Catheter Cardiovasc Interv 2019 03 20;93(4):740-748. Epub 2018 Oct 20.

Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Columbia University, Miami Beach, Florida.

Objectives: To assess the treatment effect of TAVR versus SAVR on clinical outcomes to 3 years in patients stratified by chronic kidney disease (CKD) by retrospectively studying patients randomized to TAVR or SAVR.

Background: The impact of CKD on mid-term outcomes of patients undergoing TAVR versus SAVR is unclear.

Methods: Patients randomized to TAVR or SAVR in the CoreValve US Pivotal High Risk Trial were retrospectively stratified by eGFR: none/mild or moderate/severe CKD. To evaluate the impact of baseline CKD in TAVR patients only, all patients undergoing an attempted TAVR implant in the US Pivotal Trial and CAS were stratified by baseline eGFR into none/mild, moderate, and severe CKD. The primary endpoint was major adverse cardiovascular and renal events (MACRE), a composite of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke/TIA, and new requirement of dialysis.

Results: Moderate/severe CKD was present in 62.7% and 60.7% of high-risk patients randomized to TAVR or SAVR, respectively. Baseline characteristics were similar between TAVR and SAVR patients in both CKD subgroups, except for higher rates of diabetes and higher serum creatinine in SAVR patients. Among high-risk patients with moderate/severe CKD, TAVR provided a lower 3-year MACRE rate compared with SAVR: 42.1% vs. 51.0, P = .04. Of 3,733 extreme- and high-risk TAVR patients, 39.9% had none/mild, 53.8% moderate, and 6.4% severe CKD. Worsening baseline CKD was associated with increased 3-year MACRE rates [none/mild 51.5%, moderate 54.5%, severe 63.1%, P = .001].

Conclusions: TAVR results in lower 3-year MACRE versus SAVR in high-risk patients with moderate/severe CKD. In patients undergoing TAVR, worsening CKD increases mid-term mortality and MACRE. Randomized trials of TAVR vs. SAVR in patients with moderate-severe CKD would help elucidate the best treatment for these complex patients.

Trial Registration: CoreValve US Pivotal Trial: NCT01240902. CoreValve Continued Access Study: NCT01531374.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ccd.27928DOI Listing
March 2019

Off-pump coronary artery bypass in octogenarians: results of a statewide, matched comparison.

Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019 Apr 19;67(4):355-362. Epub 2018 Oct 19.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Objectives: Off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting (OPCAB) may have advantages in the elderly. Although proven safe, it remains unclear whether OPCAB provides a short-term survival benefit in octogenarians. We sought to compare outcomes using propensity matching between OPCAB and conventional surgery in a statewide database.

Methods: We identified all octogenarians (≥ 80 years) who underwent isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CAB) at 10 different centers in the state of Maryland from July 2011 to June 2016. We separated patients into two groups: OPCAB and on-pump coronary artery bypass (ONCAB). Patients were assigned propensity scores with a semi-parsimonious logistic regression model and matched 1:1 by the nearest-neighbor principle. A revascularization ratio was determined between the number of distal grafts sewn and number of diseased coronaries (≥ 50% stenosis).

Results: In total, 926 octogenarians underwent isolated CAB (8.2% of all CAB): 798 (86%) had ONCAB and 128 (14%) had OPCAB. Propensity matching yielded 128 well-matched pairs. Operative mortality was similar between groups (OPCAB 5.5% vs ONCAB 3.1%, p = 0.364). Rates of complications were similar between groups. OPCAB patients had a lower revascularization ratio (0.92 vs 1.15, p < 0.001), but more frequent use of left internal mammary artery (97 vs 89%, p = 0.017), and decreased intraoperative transfusion rates (33 vs 63%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: In comparing outcomes among octogenarians across the state of Maryland, OPCAB and ONCAB had similar mortality and morbidity. However, OPCAB was associated with a lower revascularization ratio. Thus, our results demonstrate no short-term survival benefit of OPCAB over ONCAB in octogenarians.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11748-018-1025-8DOI Listing
April 2019

5-Year Outcomes of Self-Expanding Transcatheter Versus Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement in High-Risk Patients.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2018 12 21;72(22):2687-2696. Epub 2018 Sep 21.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York, New York.

Background: The CoreValve U.S. Pivotal High Risk Trial was the first randomized trial to show superior 1-year mortality of transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) compared with surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) among high operative mortality-risk patients.

Objectives: The authors sought to compare TAVR to SAVR for mid-term 5-year outcomes of safety, performance, and durability.

Methods: Surgical high-risk patients were randomized (1:1) to TAVR with the self-expanding bioprosthesis or SAVR. VARC-1 (Valve Academic Research Consortium I) definitions were applied. Severe hemodynamic structural valve deterioration was defined as a mean gradient ≥40 mm Hg or a change in gradient ≥20 mm Hg or new severe aortic regurgitation. Five-year follow-up was planned.

Results: A total of 797 patients were randomized at 45 U.S. centers, of whom 750 underwent an attempted implant (TAVR = 391, SAVR = 359). The overall mean age was 83 years, and the STS score was 7.4%. All-cause mortality rates at 5 years were 55.3% for TAVR and 55.4% for SAVR. Subgroup analysis showed no differences in mortality. Major stroke rates were 12.3% for TAVR and 13.2% for SAVR. Mean aortic valve gradients were 7.1 ± 3.6 mm Hg for TAVR and 10.9 ± 5.7 mm Hg for SAVR. No clinically significant valve thrombosis was observed. Freedom from severe SVD was 99.2% for TAVR and 98.3% for SAVR (p = 0.32), and freedom from valve reintervention was 97.0% for TAVR and 98.9% for SAVR (p = 0.04). A permanent pacemaker was implanted in 33.0% of TAVR and 19.8% of SAVR patients at 5 years.

Conclusions: This study shows similar mid-term survival and stroke rates in high-risk patients following TAVR or SAVR. Severe structural valve deterioration and valve reinterventions were uncommon. (Safety and Efficacy Study of the Medtronic CoreValve System in the Treatment of Symptomatic Severe Aortic Stenosis in High Risk and Very High Risk Subjects Who Need Aortic Valve Replacement; NCT01240902).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2018.08.2146DOI Listing
December 2018

Bilateral Internal Mammary Artery Use in Diabetic Patients: Friend or Foe?

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 10 20;106(4):1088-1094. Epub 2018 Jun 20.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; Maryland Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: Bilateral internal mammary artery (BIMA) grafting in diabetic patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting remains controversial. Our study compared morbidity and mortality between (1) diabetic and nondiabetic BIMA patients and (2) diabetic BIMA versus diabetic patients who underwent left internal mammary artery (LIMA) grafting only.

Methods: Patients who underwent isolated coronary artery bypass grafting from July 2011 to June 2016 at any of the 10 Maryland Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative centers were propensity scored across 16 variables. Diabetic BIMA patients were matched 1:1 by nearest neighbor matching to nondiabetic BIMA patients and were separately matched 1:1 to diabetic LIMA patients. We calculated observed-to-expected (O/E) ratios for composite morbidity/mortality, operative mortality, unplanned reoperation, stroke, renal failure, prolonged ventilation, and deep sternal wound infection and compared ratios among matched populations.

Results: During the study period, 812 coronary artery bypass grafting patients received BIMA grafts, including 302 patients (37%) with diabetes. We matched 259 diabetic and nondiabetic BIMA patients. O/E ratios were higher in matched diabetic (versus nondiabetic) BIMA patients when comparing composite morbidity/mortality, reoperation, stroke, renal failure, and prolonged ventilation (all O/E ratios >1.0); however, the O/E ratio for operative mortality was higher in nondiabetic BIMA patients. We additionally matched 292 diabetic BIMA to diabetic LIMA patients. Diabetic BIMA patients had a higher O/E ratio for composite morbidity/mortality, operative mortality, stroke, renal failure, and prolonged ventilation.

Conclusions: In this statewide analysis, diabetic patients who received BIMA grafts (compared with diabetic patients with LIMA grafts or nondiabetic patients with BIMA grafts) had higher O/E ratios for composite morbidity/mortality as a result of higher O/E ratios for major complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2018.04.030DOI Listing
October 2018

Impact of Annular Size on Outcomes After Surgical or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement.

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 04 5;105(4):1129-1136. Epub 2018 Jan 5.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: This analysis evaluates the relationship of annular size to hemodynamics and the incidence of prosthesis-patient mismatch (PPM) in surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) and transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) patients.

Methods: The CoreValve US Pivotal High Risk Trial, described previously, compared TAVR using a self-expanding valve with SAVR. Multislice computed tomography was used to categorize TAVR and SAVR subjects according to annular perimeter-derived diameter: large (≥26 mm), medium (23 to <26 mm), and small (<23 mm). Hemodynamics, PPM, and clinical outcomes were assessed.

Results: At all postprocedure visits, mean gradients were significantly lower for TAVR compared with SAVR in small and medium size annuli (p < 0.001). Annular size was significantly associated with mean gradient after SAVR, with small annuli having the highest gradients (p < 0.05 at all timepoints); gradients were similar across all annular sizes after TAVR. In subjects receiving SAVR, the frequency of PPM was significantly associated with annular size, with small annuli having the greatest incidence. No difference in PPM incidence by annular sizing was observed with TAVR. In addition, TAVR subjects had significantly less PPM than SAVR subjects in small and medium annuli (p < 0.001), with no difference in the incidence of PPM between TAVR and SAVR in large annuli (p = 0.10).

Conclusions: Annular size has a significant effect on hemodynamics and the incidence of PPM in SAVR subjects, not observed in TAVR subjects. With respect to annular size, TAVR results in better hemodynamics and less PPM for annuli less than 26 mm and should be strongly considered when choosing a tissue valve for small and medium size annuli.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.08.059DOI Listing
April 2018

A bridge too many?

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2018 03 22;155(3):1056-1057. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Heart & Vascular Institute, Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2017.11.059DOI Listing
March 2018

Complications After Self-expanding Transcatheter or Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement.

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2017 Autumn;29(3):321-330. Epub 2017 Jun 19.

Department of Surgery, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston, Texas.

Procedural complications following transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) or surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) are usually reported as retrospective analyses. We report the first comparison of complications following SAVR or self-expanding TAVR from a prospectively randomized study of high-risk SAVR patients. Three hundred ninety-five TAVR and 402 SAVR patients were prospectively enrolled and randomized 1:1 to TAVR with a CoreValve bioprosthesis or a surgical bioprosthetic valve. The rates of major procedural and vascular complications occurring (periprocedurally (0-3 days) and early (4-30 days)) were compared for TAVR vs SAVR patients. All-cause mortality, stroke, myocardial infarction, and major infection were similar in both periods post procedure. Within 0-3 days, the major vascular complication rate was significantly higher with TAVR (P = 0.003). Life-threatening or disabling bleeding (P < 0.001), encephalopathy (P = 0.02), atrial fibrillation (P < 0.001), and acute kidney injury (P < 0.001) were significantly higher with SAVR. Non-iliofemoral TAVR approaches had a higher incidence of major or life-threatening or disabling bleeding at 0-3days (P < 0.05). Procedural complications unique to TAVR included coronary occlusion 0.5% (2) and TAVR pop outs 2.8% (11) with no valve embolizations. Pop outs were similar between iliofemoral 2.8% (9/324) and non-iliofemoral approaches 3.0% (2/66). Procedural complications unique to SAVR included aortic dissection 0.8% (3/357) and injury to other heart structures 2.0% (7/357). The procedural complication profiles of TAVR and SAVR are unique. Intraoperative deaths were seen in TAVR only. Mortality at 3 and 30 days was similar. The higher incidence of some complications likely reflects the greater invasiveness of SAVR in this aged high-risk population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2017.06.001DOI Listing
December 2017

Subclavian/Axillary Access for Self-Expanding Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Renders Equivalent Outcomes as Transfemoral.

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 Feb 1;105(2):477-483. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, The Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, Houston, Texas.

Background: Iliofemoral arterial disease can preclude transfemoral (TF) transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TF-TAVR). Transthoracic access by direct aortic or a transapical approach imparts a greater risk of complications and death than TF access. We hypothesized that subclavian/axillary arterial (SCA) access offers equivalent risks and outcomes as TF access.

Methods: The outcomes of 202 patients from the CoreValve (Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN) United States Pivotal Trial Program treated with SCA access were propensity matched with patients treated with TF access and analyzed.

Results: Matching was successful, with no significant baseline differences in the SCA group and the TF group, except the SCA group had more past or present smokers (79.2% vs 61.4%, p < 0.001) and fewer patients with anemia requiring transfusion (18.5% vs 27.5%, p = 0.04). SCA patients experienced a significantly longer time from enrollment to procedure (8.6 ± 19.1 vs 5.3 ± 6.3 days; p = 0.02), likely the result of case planning. Significant differences in procedural outcomes include less post-TAVR balloon dilation (17.9% vs 26.7%, p = 0.03) and more general anesthesia (99.0% vs 89.6%, p < 0.001) for the SCA accesses. There were no differences in procedure time (57.8 ± 45.3 vs 57.5 ± 32.1 min, p = 0.94) or Valve Academic Research Consortium I-defined procedure success between groups (p = 0.89). Event rates at 30 days or 1 year were similar, with a trend toward fewer pacemakers with SCA accesses.

Conclusions: Major morbidity and mortality rates SCA-TAVR are equivalent to TF-TAVR. The SCA should be the preferred secondary access site for TAVR because it offers procedural and clinical outcomes comparable to TF-TAVR and applies to most patients who are not TF candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.07.017DOI Listing
February 2018

A Comprehensive Risk Score to Predict Prolonged Hospital Length of Stay After Heart Transplantation.

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 Jan 1;105(1):83-90. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: Prolonged hospital length of stay (PLOS) after heart transplantation increases cost and morbidity. To better inform care, we developed a risk score to identify patients at risk for PLOS after heart transplantation.

Methods: We queried the United Network for Organ Sharing Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients database for adult patients who underwent isolated heart transplantation from 2003 to 2012. The population was randomly divided into a derivation cohort (80%) and a validation cohort (20%). The outcome of interest was PLOS, defined as a posttransplant hospital length of stay of more than 30 days. Associated univariables (p < 0.20) in the derivation cohort were included in a multivariable model, and a risk index was derived from the adjusted odds ratios of significant covariates.

Results: During the study period, 16,723 patients underwent heart transplantation with an average PLOS of 19 ± 21 days, and 2,020 orthotopic heart transplant recipients (12%) had PLOS. Baseline characteristics were similar between the derivation and validation cohorts. Twenty-four recipient and nine donor variables, cold ischemic time, and center volume were tested as univariables. Seventeen covariates significantly affected PLOS and comprised the prolonged hospitalization after heart transplant risk score, which was stratified into three risk groups. The risk model was subsequently validated, and predicted rates of PLOS correlated well with observed rates (R = 0.79). Rates of PLOS in the validation cohort were 8.3%, 11%, and 22% for low, moderate, and high risk groups, respectively.

Conclusions: The risk of PLOS after heart transplantation can be determined at the time of transplant. The prolonged hospitalization after heart transplant score may lead to individualized postoperative management strategies to reduce duration of hospitalization for patients at high risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.07.012DOI Listing
January 2018

Differential Impact of Serial Measurement of Nonplatelet Thromboxane Generation on Long-Term Outcome After Cardiac Surgery.

J Am Heart Assoc 2017 Nov 2;6(11). Epub 2017 Nov 2.

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

Background: Systemic thromboxane generation, not suppressible by standard aspirin therapy and likely arising from nonplatelet sources, increases the risk of atherothrombosis and death in patients with cardiovascular disease. In the RIGOR (Reduction in Graft Occlusion Rates) study, greater nonplatelet thromboxane generation occurred early compared with late after coronary artery bypass graft surgery, although only the latter correlated with graft failure. We hypothesize that a similar differential association exists between nonplatelet thromboxane generation and long-term clinical outcome.

Methods And Results: Five-year outcome data were analyzed for 290 RIGOR subjects taking aspirin with suppressed platelet thromboxane generation. Multivariable modeling was performed to define the relative predictive value of the urine thromboxane metabolite, 11-dehydrothromboxane B (11-dhTXB), measured 3 days versus 6 months after surgery on the composite end point of death, myocardial infarction, revascularization or stroke, and death alone. 11-dhTXB measured 3 days after surgery did not independently predict outcome, whereas 11-dhTXB >450 pg/mg creatinine measured 6 months after surgery predicted the composite end point (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.79; =0.02) and death (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.90; =0.01) at 5 years compared with lower values. Additional modeling revealed 11-dhTXB measured early after surgery associated with several markers of inflammation, in contrast to 11-dhTXB measured 6 months later, which highly associated with oxidative stress.

Conclusions: Long-term nonplatelet thromboxane generation after coronary artery bypass graft surgery is a novel risk factor for 5-year adverse outcome, including death. In contrast, nonplatelet thromboxane generation in the early postoperative period appears to be driven predominantly by inflammation and did not independently predict long-term clinical outcome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.117.007486DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5721801PMC
November 2017

Less Is More: Results of a Statewide Analysis of the Impact of Blood Transfusion on Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Outcomes.

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 Jan 1;105(1):129-136. Epub 2017 Nov 1.

Maryland Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative, Baltimore, Maryland; Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: Debate persists over the association between blood transfusions, especially those considered discretionary, and outcomes after cardiac operations. Using data from the Maryland Cardiac Surgery Quality Initiative, we sought to determine whether outcomes differed among coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) patients receiving 1 U of red blood cells (RBCs) vs none.

Methods: We used a statewide database to review patients who underwent isolated CABG from July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2016, across 10 Maryland cardiac surgery centers. We included patients who received 1 U or fewer of RBCs from the time of the operation through discharge. Propensity scoring, using 20 variables to control for treatment effect, was performed among patients who did and did not receive a transfusion. These two groups were matched 1:1 to assess for differences in our primary outcomes: operative death, prolonged postoperative length of stay (>14 days), and a composite postoperative respiratory complication of pneumonia or reintubation, or both.

Results: Of 10,877 patients who underwent CABG, 6,124 (56%) received no RBCs (group 1) during their operative hospitalization, and 981 (9.0%) received 1 U of RBCs (group 2), including 345 of 981 patients (35%) who received a transfusion intraoperatively. Propensity score matching generated 937 well-matched pairs. Compared with group 2, propensity-matched analysis revealed significantly greater 30-day survival in group 1 (99% vs 98%, p = 0.02) and reduced incidence of prolonged length of stay (3.7% vs 4.0%, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Our collaborative statewide analysis demonstrated that even 1 unit of blood was associated with significantly worse survival and longer length of stay after CABG. Multiinstitutional quality initiatives may seek to address discretionary transfusions and possess the potential to improve patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.06.062DOI Listing
January 2018

Reply.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 11;104(5):1757-1758

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.04.012DOI Listing
November 2017

Long-term follow-up of continuous flow left ventricular assist devices: complications and predisposing risk factors.

Int J Artif Organs 2017 Oct 2;40(11):622-628. Epub 2017 Aug 2.

 Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD - USA.

Purpose: To assess LVAD complications and their overall effect on mortality and determine factors associated with development of early and long-term complications.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study of patients who underwent continuous flow LVAD placement between January 1, 2000 and November 30, 2013 was performed. The incidence of complications (sepsis or bacteremia, driveline infections, gastrointestinal bleeding, pump thrombosis, cerebrovascular accidents and anemia requiring transfusion) was collected and logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards analyses were performed.

Results: 108 patients met our inclusion criteria. Median length of follow-up was 2.2 years. In univariable logistic regression analysis, higher blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine clearance <60, no prior inotrope use, higher INTERMACS class and lower platelet count were associated with early complications. On multivariable analysis, factors associated with early complications included higher BUN (odds ratio (OR) 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.001-1.06 per mg/dL BUN), no prior inotrope use (OR 4.92, 95% CI 1.64- 14.7) and lower platelet count (OR 4.29, 95% CI 1.45-12.7 <200 10(3) cu mm); 24% of patients developed early complications and 18.5% developed an early and late complication. Early complications were significantly associated with death (p = 0.017). The presence of 2 or more complications was associated with a 2.7-fold increase in the odds of death (p = 0.016) and odds of death increased by 20% with each subsequent complication (p = 0.004).

Conclusions: LVADs are associated with significant long-term complications including stroke and sepsis and minimizing time on LVADs may decrease the risk of complications and subsequent morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5301/ijao.5000628DOI Listing
October 2017

Team-Based Care: The Changing Face of Cardiothoracic Surgery.

Surg Clin North Am 2017 Aug;97(4):801-810

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1800 Orleans Street, Zayed 7107, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA. Electronic address:

Cardiothoracic surgical care is a team sport. The increased complexity and sophistication of this field have resulted in the development of highly functioning multidisciplinary and interprofessional teams to optimize clinical outcomes. This article provides an overview of a team-based, patient-centric "systems" approach to the care of cardiothoracic surgery patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.suc.2017.03.003DOI Listing
August 2017

Renal Failure After Cardiac Operations: Not All Acute Kidney Injury Is the Same.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Sep 21;104(3):760-766. Epub 2017 Apr 21.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) database does not distinguish between a decline in creatinine clearance vs new hemodialysis (HD) when qualifying acute renal failure (ARF) after a cardiac operation. We hypothesized that patients requiring HD experience significantly greater postoperative morbidity and death.

Methods: We included all patients who underwent STS index cardiac operations at our institution from 2008 to March 2015 and did not have preexisting renal failure (creatinine >4.0 mg/dL or preoperative HD). We identified patients meeting STS criteria for ARF: threefold rise in serum creatinine, creatinine exceeding 4.0 mg/dL (non-HD ARF) with minimum rise of 0.5 mg/dL, or HD (ARF-HD). After propensity matching non-HD ARF and ARF-HD groups across 14 variables (including baseline glomerular filtration rate), we compared incidences of our primary outcome, death, and secondary outcomes, intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital length of stay (LOS), and discharge to a location other than home.

Results: Among 4,154 study patients, we identified 113 (2.7%) that experienced new-onset non-HD ARF (n = 57) or ARF-HD (n = 56) postoperatively. Propensity matching resulted in 51 well-matched pairs who experienced non-HD ARF or ARF-HD (all p > 0.10). Patients requiring HD suffered significantly greater operative mortality (67% vs 22%, p < 0.01), longer ICU LOS (326 vs 176 hours, p < 0.01), and greater postoperative hospital LOS (34 vs 17 days, p < 0.01). ARF-HD patients also demonstrated a trend toward higher rates of discharge to a location other than home (71% vs 45%, p = 0.08).

Conclusions: After cardiac operations, patients who experienced ARF-HD experienced triple the mortality and double the ICU and postoperative hospital LOS compared with patients who experienced non-HD ARF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.01.019DOI Listing
September 2017

The Paradoxical Relationship Between Donor Distance and Survival After Heart Transplantation.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 May 31;103(5):1384-1391. Epub 2017 Mar 31.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: Concerns over prolonged allograft ischemia have limited the widespread adoption of long-distance organ procurement in heart transplantation (HT). We sought to assess whether donor distance from the center of transplantation independently affects mortality.

Methods: We queried the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database for adults undergoing isolated HT from 2005 to 2012. Risk-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models were constructed for the primary outcomes of 30-day and 1-year mortality, and the independent impact of donor distance from transplantation center at the time of procurement was assessed.

Results: We included 14,588 heart transplant recipients. The mean distance from location of the donor heart to transplantation center was 184.4 ± 214.6 miles; 1,214 HTs (8.3%) occurred at the same location as the donor heart. Ischemic times were inversely related to the distance from the site of donor procurement to recipient transplantation. After risk adjustment, longer donor distances (in miles) were associated with a significantly lower risk of mortality at both 30 days (hazard ratio [HR] 0.9993, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.9988 to 0.9998, p < 0.01) and 1 year (HR 0.9994, 95% CI: 0.9989 to 0.9999, p = 0.015). Risk-adjusted hazards for mortality were significantly reduced in recipients receiving hearts from more than 25 miles away. The hazard reduction was greatest in recipients receiving donor hearts from more than 500 miles away (1-year HR 0.64, p < 0.01; 30-day HR 0.47, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: Longer distances between donor location and center of heart transplantation are associated with a reduced hazard for survival at 30 days and 1 year, despite greater ischemic times. Future studies are necessary to elucidate the protective factors surrounding long-distance heart donation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.01.055DOI Listing
May 2017

Causes of death from the randomized CoreValve US Pivotal High-Risk Trial.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2017 06 4;153(6):1293-1301.e1. Epub 2017 Feb 4.

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Houston Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center, Houston, Tex.

Objective: Explore causes and timing of death from the CoreValve US Pivotal High-Risk Trial.

Methods: An independent clinical events committee adjudicated causes of death, followed by post hoc hierarchical classification. Baseline characteristics, early outcomes, and causes of death were evaluated for 3 time periods (selected based on threshold of surgical 30-day mortality and on the differences in the continuous hazard between the 2 groups): early (0-30 days), recovery (31-120 days), and late (121-365 days).

Results: Differences in the rate of death were evident only during the recovery period (31-120 days), whereas 15 patients undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) (4.0%) and 27 surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) patients (7.9%) died (P = .025). This mortality difference was largely driven by higher rates of technical failure, surgical complications, and lack of recovery following surgery. From 0 to 30 days, the causes of death were more technical failures in the TAVR group and lack of recovery in the SAVR group. Mortality in the late period (121-365 days) in both arms was most commonly ascribed to other circumstances, comprising death from medical complications from comorbid disease.

Conclusions: Mortality at 1 year in the CoreValve US Pivotal High-Risk Trial favored TAVR over SAVR. The major contributor was that more SAVR patients died during the recovery period (31-121 days), likely affected by the overall influence of physical stress associated with surgery. Similar rates of technical failure and complications were observed between the 2 groups. This suggests that early TAVR results can improve with technical refinements and that high-risk surgical patients will benefit from reducing complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2016.11.069DOI Listing
June 2017

Lung Transplant Mortality Is Improving in Recipients With a Lung Allocation Score in the Upper Quartile.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 May 21;103(5):1607-1613. Epub 2017 Feb 21.

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: Since the introduction of the Lung Allocation Score (LAS), the mean LAS has risen. Still, it remains uncertain whether mortality has improved in the most severely ill lung transplant recipients over this time period.

Methods: Using the United Network for Organ Sharing database, we identified 3,548 adult lung transplant recipients from May 4, 2005, to March 31, 2014, with a match-time LAS in the upper quartile (>75th%ile). We divided this population across three eras: 1 = May 4, 2005, to December 31, 2008 (n = 1,280); 2 = January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2011 (n = 1,266); and 3 = January 1, 2012, to March 31, 2014 (n = 1,002). Cox proportional hazards models were constructed for the primary outcomes of 30-day and 1-year mortality to assess the independent impact of the era of transplantation.

Results: The mean LAS at time of transplant for patients in the upper quartile in eras 1, 2, and 3 was 63, 73, and 79, respectively (p < 0.001). Later eras of transplantation benefited from a significant improvement in survival at 1 year (log-rank p = 0.001) but not at 30 days (log-rank p = 0.152). After risk adjustment, lung transplantation in more recent eras was associated with improved mortality at both 30 days (era 3 hazard ratio [HR] = 0.50, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.32% to 0.78%, p = 0.002) and 1 year (era 2 HR = 0.77, 95% CI 0.64% to 0.94%, p = 0.008; era 3 HR = 0.54, 95% CI 0.43% to 0.68%, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Despite a progressively rising LAS, survival is improving among recipients with the highest LAS at the time of lung transplantation. This calls into question the notion of a maximum LAS beyond which lung transplantation becomes futile, a so-called LAS ceiling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.11.057DOI Listing
May 2017

Early Extubation: A Proposed New Metric.

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2016 Summer;28(2):290-299. Epub 2016 Apr 26.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Shorter intubation periods after cardiac surgery are associated with decreased morbidity and mortality. Although the Society of Thoracic Surgeons uses a 6-hour benchmark for early extubation, the time threshold above which complications increase is unknown. Using an institutional Society of Thoracic Surgeons database, we identified 3007 adult patients who underwent 1 of 7 index cardiac operations from 2010-2014. Patients were stratified by the duration of time to extubation after surgery-0-6, 6-9, 9-12, and 12-18 hours. Aggregate outcomes were compared among time-to-extubation cohorts. Primary outcomes included operative mortality and a composite of major postoperative complications; secondary outcomes included prolonged postoperative hospital length of stay (PLOS) (> 14 days) and reintubation. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to control for case mix. In results, extubation percentages in each time cohort were hours 0-6-36.4%, 6-9-25.6%, 9-12-12.5%, and 12-18-10.5%. Patients extubated in hours 12-18 vs < 12 experienced a significantly higher risk of operative mortality (odds ratio = 2.7, 95% CI: 1.0-7.5, P = 0.05) and the composite complication outcome (odds ratio = 3.6, 95% CI: 2.2-6.1, P < 0.01); however, insignificant differences were observed in those extubated in hours 6-9 vs 0-6 nor in hours 9-12 vs 0-9. An identical trend was observed for our secondary outcomes of PLOS and reintubation. In conclusion, our results indicate that the risks of operative mortality, major morbidity, and PLOS do not significantly increase until the time interval to extubation exceeds 12 hours. Cardiac surgery programs should be evaluated on their ability to extubate patients within this time interval.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2016.04.009DOI Listing
June 2017

Phase of Care Mortality Analysis: A Unique Method for Comparing Mortality Differences Among Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement and Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement Patients.

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2016 Summer;28(2):245-252. Epub 2016 Jul 17.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

The objective of this study is based on the phase of care mortality analysis (POCMA), an effective tool to evaluate the root cause of in-hospital mortality in cardiac surgery patients. POCMA has not been used to compare operative mortalities among transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) and surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR) populations, and may provide insight that could affect patient safety initiatives and improve outcomes in aortic valve surgery. We included patients who underwent TAVR or isolated SAVR between 2011 and March 31, 2015 and did not survive the index hospitalization. A multidisciplinary heart team made POCMA assignments as part of the weekly morbidity and mortality conference, pinpointing the phase of care and subcategory that directly caused or had the greatest effect on each mortality. During the study period, 240 patients underwent TAVR and 530 underwent SAVR. Unadjusted mortality rates were significantly higher in the TAVR group, 5.0% (n = 12) compared with SAVR, 1.9% (n = 10) (P = 0.016). TAVR deaths by phase of care are as follows: 0 for preoperative, 9 (72.8%) for intraoperative, 2 (18.2%) for postoperative intensive care unit, and 1 (9.1%) for postoperative floor. By comparison, 4 (40%) SAVR deaths had a root cause in the preoperative phase, 1 (10%) in the intraoperative phase, and 5 (50%) in the postoperative intensive care unit phase. POCMA is a novel method of categorizing in-hospital mortalities. Our single institution review revealed that patients who underwent TAVR more often expired because of intraoperative technical issues, whereas SAVR deaths were typically the result of patient selection or postoperative complications.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2016.06.008DOI Listing
June 2017

Complications After Cardiac Operations: All Are Not Created Equal.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Jan 22;103(1):32-40. Epub 2016 Nov 22.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: Postoperative complications are associated with increased morbidity and mortality after cardiac operations. We sought to quantify the effect of multiple complications on noninstitutionalized recovery after cardiac operations.

Methods: We identified 2,477 adult patients from our institutional cardiac surgery database who underwent one of seven index cardiac surgical operations from 2011 to 2014. We calculated failure-to-rescue rates for all individual complications and combinations of complications. We used multivariable logistic regression to determine the effect of the interaction of postoperative complications on our primary outcome of operative death and secondary outcomes of prolonged hospital length of stay and discharge to a location other than home.

Results: From 2011 to 2014, at least one complication occurred in 366 patients (14.8%), and multiple complications occurred in 102 (4.1%), including three complications in 20 (0.8%). Operative mortality occurred in 41% of patients with multiple complications vs in 4.9% of those with an isolated complication and in 0.7% of those without complications. Significant interactions that negatively affected survival were noted between nearly every combination of complications. The occurrence of renal failure and unplanned reoperation together were associated with increased deaths (odds ratio, 108.4; 95% confidence interval, 13.5 to 869.9; p < 0.001). Median hospital length of stay and discharge rates to a location other than home correlated positively with the number of postoperative complications.

Conclusions: Major complications after cardiac operations are associated with an increased risk for operative death, longer hospital length of stay, and higher rates of discharge to a location other than home. These adverse outcomes are magnified when multiple complications are encountered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.10.022DOI Listing
January 2017

Planned Versus Unplanned Reexplorations for Bleeding: A Comparison of Morbidity and Mortality.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Mar 22;103(3):779-786. Epub 2016 Sep 22.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: Mediastinal reexplorations for bleeding are associated with significant morbidity and mortality. This study hypothesized that bleeding patients who undergo delayed chest closure after an initial operation experience similar outcomes in comparison with patients who have initial chest closure and later require an unplanned reexploration.

Methods: This study included all patients in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore, MD) institutional Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) database who underwent cardiac surgical procedures or thoracic transplantation from 2011 to June 2014, had an intraoperative red blood cell transfusion requirement of 2 units or more, and required mediastinal reexploration for bleeding. Reexplorations were classified as planned (temporary chest closure for a planned "second look") or unplanned (initial sternal closure and subsequent reexploration). The two groups were then propensity matched. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality. Secondary outcomes were major complication rates, hospital length of stay, duration of mechanical ventilation, and incidence of postoperative pneumonia and cardiac arrest.

Results: Among 3,293 patients, 110 (3.3%) met inclusion criteria and required mediastinal reexploration for bleeding. This group included 62 planned (56%) and 48 unplanned (44%) reexplorations. After propensity matching 30 pairs of patients across 16 variables, operative mortality rates were comparable (37% vs 37%; p = 1.00) between unplanned and planned reexploration cohorts. There were no differences in rates of deep sternal wound infection, renal failure, postoperative hospital length of stay, pneumonia, or cardiac arrest, with the exception of a higher rate of prolonged intubation (93% vs 53%; p < 0.01) in the planned reexploration group.

Conclusions: Delayed sternal closure is a safe alternative to initial definitive chest closure when concern exists for postoperative bleeding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.06.096DOI Listing
March 2017

Attributable harm of severe bleeding after cardiac surgery in hemodynamically stable patients.

Gen Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2017 Feb 20;65(2):102-109. Epub 2016 Sep 20.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, 1800 Orleans St, Zayed 7107, Baltimore, MD, 21287, USA.

Background: We sought to quantify the effect of severe postoperative bleeding in hemodynamically stable patients following cardiac surgery.

Methods: We reviewed the charts of all cardiac surgery patients operated on at our institution between 2010 and 2014. After excluding patients with tamponade or MAP <60, we propensity matched patients having chest tube output >300 mL in the first postoperative hour, >200 mL in the second, and >100 mL in the third ("bleeding" group) with patients having <50 mL/h of chest tube output ("dry" group). The primary outcome was a composite of morbidity or mortality (excluding reexploration).

Results: 5016 patients were operated on between 2010 and 2014; of these, we included the records of 84 bleeding and 498 dry patients. Propensity matching resulted in 68 pairs of patients well-matched on baseline and operative variables. As compared to matched dry patients, bleeding patients were more likely to experience the primary outcome of any morbidity/mortality (36.8 vs. 13.2 %, p = 0.002), as well as ventilation >24 h (33.8 vs. 7.4 %, p < 0.001) and 30-day mortality (11.8 vs. 1.5 %, p = 0.02). Of the 84 bleeding patients, 46 underwent reexploration for bleeding within 24 h of surgery. A subgroup analysis propensity matching bleeding patients who were or were not reexplored <24 h demonstrated similarly poor outcomes in each group (primary outcome, 44.7 % reexplored vs. 50.0 % non-reexplored, p = 0.65), though reexplored patients were far less likely to require hematoma evacuation/washout >24 h after surgery (0 vs. 18.4 %, p = 0.005).

Conclusions: Even among hemodynamically stable patients, severe bleeding is associated with markedly worse outcomes following cardiac surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11748-016-0714-4DOI Listing
February 2017

Fairness in heart allocation.

Authors:
John V Conte

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2016 12 20;152(6):1487-1488. Epub 2016 Aug 20.

Division of Cardiac Surgery, Department of Surgery, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2016.08.008DOI Listing
December 2016

Experience With the Cardiac Surgery Simulation Curriculum: Results of the Resident and Faculty Survey.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Jan 25;103(1):322-328. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Background: The Cardiac Surgery Simulation Curriculum was developed at 8 institutions from 2010 to 2013. A total of 27 residents were trained by 18 faculty members. A survey was conducted to gain insight into the initial experience.

Methods: Residents and faculty were sent a 72- and 68-question survey, respectively. In addition to demographic information, participants reported their view of the overall impact of the curriculum. Focused investigation into each of the 6 modules was obtained. Participants evaluated the value of the specific simulators used. Institutional biases regarding implementation of the curriculum were evaluated.

Results: Twenty (74%) residents and 14 (78%) faculty responded. The majority (70%) of residents completed this training in their first and second year of traditional-track programs. The modules were well regarded with no respondents having an unfavorable view. Both residents and faculty found low, moderate, and high fidelity simulators to be extremely useful, with particular emphasis on utility of high fidelity components. The vast majority of residents (85%) and faculty (100%) felt more comfortable in the resident skill set and performance in the operating room. Simulation of rare adverse events allowed for development of multidisciplinary teams to address them. At most institutions, the conduct of this curriculum took precedence over clinical obligations (64%).

Conclusions: The Cardiac Surgery Simulation Curriculum was implemented with robust adoption among the investigating centers. Both residents and faculty viewed the modules favorably. Using this curriculum, participants indicated an improvement in resident technical skills and were enthusiastic about training in adverse events and crisis management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.06.074DOI Listing
January 2017