Publications by authors named "Penny L Houghtaling"

74 Publications

Aortic allograft infection risk.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2021 May 12. Epub 2021 May 12.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart, Vascular, and Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Objective: Intrinsic risk of infection of cryopreserved allograft aortic root replacements remains poorly understood despite their long history of use. The objective of this study was to determine this intrinsic risk of allograft infection and its risk factors when allografts are implanted for both nonendocarditis indications and infective endocarditis.

Methods: From January 1987 to January 2017, 2042 patients received 2110 allograft aortic valves at a quaternary medical center, 1124 (53%) for nonendocarditis indications and 986 (47%) for endocarditis indications (670 [68%] prosthetic valve endocarditis). Staphylococcus aureus caused 193 of 949 cases of endocarditis (20%), 71 (7.3%) in persons who injected drugs. Periodic surveillance and cross-sectional follow-up achieved 85% of possible follow-up time. The primary end point was allograft infection in patients with nonendocarditis and endocarditis indications. Risk factors were identified by hazard function decomposition and machine learning.

Results: During follow-up, 30 allografts (26 explanted) became infected in patients in the nonendocarditis group and 49 (41 explanted) in patients with endocarditis. At 20 years, the probability of allograft infection was 5.6% in patients in the nonendocarditis group and 14% in patients with endocarditis. Risk factors for allograft infection in patients in the nonendocarditis group were younger patient age and older donor age. Risk factors for allograft infection in patients with endocarditis were earlier implant year, injection drug use, and younger age. In patients with endocarditis, 18% of allograft infections were caused by the original organism.

Conclusions: The low infection rates, both in patients without and with endocarditis, support continued use of allografts in the modern era, in particular for the treatment of invasive endocarditis of the aortic root.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.04.086DOI Listing
May 2021

Modern practice and outcomes of reoperative cardiac surgery.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2021 Jan 23. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart, Vascular, and Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Objectives: To evaluate recent practice and outcomes of reoperative cardiac surgery via re-sternotomy. Use of early versus late institution of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) before sternal re-entry was of particular interest.

Methods: From January 2008 to July 2017, 7640 patients underwent reoperative cardiac surgery at Cleveland Clinic. The study group consisted of 6627 who had a re-sternotomy and preoperative computed tomography scans; 755 and 5872 were in the early and late institution of CPB groups, respectively. Patients were stratified into high (n = 563) or low (n = 6064) anatomic risk of re-entry on the basis of computed tomography criteria. Weighted propensity-balanced operative mortality and morbidity were compared with surgeon as a random effect.

Results: Reoperative procedures most commonly incorporated aortic valve replacement (n = 3611) and coronary artery bypass grafting (n = 2029), but also aortic root (n = 1061) and arch procedures (n = 527). Unadjusted operative mortality was 3.5% (235/6627), and major sternal re-entry and mediastinal dissection injuries were uncommon (2.8%). In the propensity-weighted analysis, similar mortality (3.1% vs 4.5%; P = .6) and major morbidity, including stroke (1.8% vs 3.2%) and dialysis (0 vs 2.6%), were noted in the high anatomic risk cohort between early and late CPB groups. Similar trends were observed in the low anatomic risk cohort (mortality 3.5% vs 2.1%; P = .2).

Conclusions: Reoperative cardiac surgery is associated with low operative morbidity and mortality at an experienced center. Early and late CPB strategies have comparable outcomes in the context of an image-guided, team-based strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2021.01.028DOI Listing
January 2021

Primary isolated CABG restrictive blood transfusion protocol reduces transfusions and length of stay.

J Card Surg 2020 Oct;35(10):2506-2511

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart, Vascular, and Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: Cardiac surgery accounts for 10-15% of blood transfusions in the US, despite benefits and calls of limiting its use. We sought to evaluate the impact of a restrictive transfusion protocol on blood use and clinical outcomes in patients undergoing isolated primary coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).

Methods: Blood conservation measures, instituted in 2012, include preoperative optimization, intraoperative anesthesia, and pump fluid restriction with retrograde autologous priming and vacuum-assisted drainage, use of aminocaproic acid and cell saver, intra- and postoperative permissive anemia, and administration of iron and low-dose vasopressors if needed. Medical records of patients who underwent isolated primary CABG from 2009 to 2012 (group A; n = 375) and 2013 to 2016 (group B; n = 322) were compared.

Results: CABG with grafting to three or four coronary arteries was performed in 262 (70%) and 222 (69%) patients and bilateral internal thoracic artery grafting in 202 (54%) and 196 (61%) patients in groups A and B, respectively. Mean preoperative and intraoperative hematocrit was 40.3% and 40.7%, 28.9% and 29.4% in groups A and B, respectively. Total blood transfusion was 24% and 6.5%, intraoperative transfusion 11% and 1.2%, and postoperative transfusion 20% and 5.6% (P < .0001 for all) in groups A and B, respectively. Median postoperative length of stay was 5.0 days in group A and 4.5 days in group B (P = .02), with no significant differences in mortality or morbidity.

Conclusions: A restrictive transfusion protocol reduced blood transfusions and postoperative length of stay without adversely affecting outcomes following isolated primary CABG.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jocs.14718DOI Listing
October 2020

Performance and Durability of Cryopreserved Allograft Aortic Valve Replacements.

Ann Thorac Surg 2021 06 25;111(6):1893-1900. Epub 2020 Sep 25.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart, Vascular, and Thoracic Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: The value of allografts for aortic root replacement is controversial, with recent concern about limited durability. Currently, we prefer allografts for invasive infective endocarditis. Purposes of this study were to assess allograft performance and durability in our cumulative experience with aortic allografts.

Methods: From January 1987 to January 2017, 2042 adults received 2110 aortic allograft root replacements at our institution: 986 (47%) for infective endocarditis (669 [68%] for prosthetic valve endocarditis) and 1124 (53%) for other indications. Mean recipient age was 54 ± 15 years, and mean allograft donor age was 35 ± 13 years. Follow-up was 85% complete and comprised 17,253 patient-years of data. Longitudinal allograft performance was extracted from 6339 available echocardiographic studies. Durability was assessed by explant for allograft structural failure.

Results: Allograft mean gradient at hospital discharge was 6 mm Hg and 9, 13, and 15 mm Hg at 5, 10, and 15 years post-implant, respectively. Severe aortic regurgitation was 0% at hospital discharge, but 14%, 25%, and 35% at 5, 10, and 15 years, respectively. A total of 405 allografts were explanted for structural failure, actuarially 2%, 14%, 34%, and 51% at 5, 10, 15, and 20 years, respectively. Risk factors for structural failure were younger recipient age, larger body surface area, hypertension, and thoracic aorta disease; donor factors were older age and larger allograft size. Implant for infective endocarditis was not associated with accelerated structural failure.

Conclusions: This study affirms allografts' long-term acceptable hemodynamic performance and durability. Concern about structural failure should not limit allograft use. Recipient hypertension, allograft size, and donor age are modifiable risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2020.07.033DOI Listing
June 2021

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Patency and Survival in Patients on Dialysis.

J Surg Res 2020 10 7;254:1-6. Epub 2020 May 7.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: Little is known about graft patency after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) performed in patients on dialysis. Our aim was to assess patency of internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts and saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) in these patients.

Methods: From 1/1997 to 1/2018, 500 patients on dialysis underwent primary CABG with or without concomitant procedures at Cleveland Clinic, 40 of whom had 48 postoperative angiograms for recurrent ischemic symptoms. Complete follow-up was obtained on all but 1 patient lost to follow-up 1 y after CABG. Thirty-six ITA grafts and 65 SVGs were evaluable for stenosis and occlusion.

Results: Two of 40 patients (5%) had emergency CABG; 3 (7.5%) with calcified aortas had a change in operative strategy to avoid ascending aortic manipulation, 2 (5%) had poor conduit quality, and 12 (30%) had severe diffuse atherosclerotic disease with calcification of the coronary targets causing technical difficulties. Thirty-three patients (82%) were bypassed with an in situ ITA and 3 (7.5%) had a free ITA graft. Three of 36 ITA grafts were occluded at 0.78, 1.8, and 9.4 y (too few to model). SVG patency was 52% and 37% at 1 and 2 y, respectively.

Conclusions: Among patients on dialysis who underwent CABG, coronary angiography for ischemic symptoms in a select subset revealed that SVG patency was lower than expected from published reports in the general CABG population and may contribute to the poor prognosis of this cohort. Further work is needed to guide graft selection and improve graft patency in dialysis patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2020.03.069DOI Listing
October 2020

Coronary Artery Target Selection and Survival After Bilateral Internal Thoracic Artery Grafting.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2020 01;75(3):258-268

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: The importance of a coronary artery, based on the myocardial mass it perfuses, is well documented, but little is known about the importance of a vessel that has been bypassed and its effect on survival in the context of bilateral internal thoracic artery (BITA) grafting.

Objectives: This study determined the effect of a dominant left anterior descending (LAD) artery and important non-LAD targets on outcomes after BITA grafting.

Methods: From January 1972 to January 2011, of 6,127 patients who underwent BITA grafting, 2,551 received 1 ITA grafted to the LAD and had an evaluable coronary angiogram. A dominant LAD was defined as one that was wrapped around the left ventricular apex. Non-LAD targets were graded based on their terminal reach toward the apex: important: >75% (n = 1,698); and less important: ≤75% (n = 853). Mean follow-up was 14 ± 8.7 years. Multivariable analysis was performed to identify risk factors for time-related mortality.

Results: A dominant LAD was present more frequently in patients with less important additional targets (51% vs. 35%; p < 0.0001). A total of 179 patients (7.0%) received a second ITA to multiple targets, 77 (43%) of which were to multiple important target vessels. Unadjusted late survival was similar regardless of degree of importance of the second ITA target-77% at 15 years (p = 0.70) for the important and less important targets, respectively. In the multivariable model, grafting the second ITA to multiple important targets was associated with better long-term survival (p = 0.005). In patients with a nondominant LAD, a second ITA grafted to a less important artery was associated with higher risk of operative mortality (2.4% vs. 0.51%; p = 0.007). A saphenous vein graft to an important or less important target did not influence long-term survival.

Conclusions: In BITA grafting, bypassing multiple important targets to maximize myocardium supplied by ITAs improved long-term survival. In patients with a nondominant LAD, selecting an important target for the second ITA lowered operative mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2019.11.026DOI Listing
January 2020

Indication-specific event rates among hospitalized patients undergoing continuous cardiac monitoring.

Clin Cardiol 2019 Oct 12;42(10):952-957. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: Cardiac telemetry monitoring is widely utilized for a variety of clinical indications, yet indication-specific event rates for monitored patients are seldomly reported.

Hypothesis: High-risk hospitalized patients for clinical deterioration can be identified using standardized telemetry monitoring indications.

Methods: Adjudicated data from events triggering emergency response team (ERT) activation were systematically characterized at the Cleveland Clinic from among standardized telemetry indications ordered over a 13-month period.

Results: Among 72 199 orders created for telemetry monitored patients, ERT activation occurred in 2677 patients (3.7%), of which 1326 (49.5%) were cardiac-related. Patients with deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (DVT/PE) demonstrated the highest overall event rate (ERT: n = 41 of 593 pts [6.9%]; 25/41 cardiac related [61%]). Cardiac-related events were proportionally highest among patients with coronary disease awaiting revascularization (ERT: n = 19 of 847 patients [2.2%]; 13/19 cardiac-related [68.4%]). Arrhythmia-specific events were highest among patients who underwent cardiac surgery (n = 78 of 193 cardiac-related ERT [40.4%]), and patients with known or suspected tachyarrhythmias (n = 318 of 788 cardiac-related ERT [40.4%]). Bubble plot analysis identified patients hospitalized with DVT/PE, drug or alcohol exposures, and acute coronary syndrome as among the highest overall and cardiac-related events while identifying patients with respiratory disorder monitoring indications as carrying the highest noncardiac event rate.

Conclusion: High-risk hospitalized patients can be identified by telemetry indication and prioritized according to concerns for cardiac, arrhythmia-specific and noncardiac clinical deterioration. This is particularly useful when monitored bed resources are constrained.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/clc.23244DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6788477PMC
October 2019

Accuracy of wearable heart rate monitors in cardiac rehabilitation.

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther 2019 Jun;9(3):262-271

Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Background: To assess the accuracy of four wearable heart rate (HR) monitors in patients with established cardiovascular disease enrolled in phase II or III cardiac rehabilitation (CR).

Methods: Eighty adult patients enrolled in phase II or III CR were monitored during a CR session that included exercise on a treadmill and/or stationary cycle. Participants underwent HR monitoring with standard ECG limb leads, an electrocardiographic (ECG) chest strap monitor (Polar H7), and two randomly assigned wrist-worn HR monitors (Apple Watch, Fitbit Blaze, Garmin Forerunner 235, TomTom Spark Cardio), one on each wrist. HR was recorded at rest and at 3, 5, and 7 minutes of steady-state exercise on the treadmill and stationary cycle.

Results: Across all exercise conditions, the chest strap monitor (Polar H7) had the best agreement with ECG (r=0.99) followed by the Apple Watch (r=0.80), Fitbit Blaze (r=0.78), TomTom Spark (r=0.76) and Garmin Forerunner (r=0.52). There was variability in accuracy under different exercise conditions. On the treadmill, only the Fitbit Blaze performed well (r=0.76), while on the stationary cycle, Apple Watch (r=0.89) and TomTom Spark (r=0.85) were most accurate.

Conclusions: In cardiac patients, the accuracy of wearable, optically based HR monitors varies, and none of those tested was as accurate as an electrode-containing chest monitor. This observation has implications for in-home CR, as electrode-containing chest monitors should be used when accurate HR measurement is imperative.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/cdt.2019.04.08DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603497PMC
June 2019

Long-term Outcomes of Surgery for Invasive Valvular Endocarditis Involving the Aortomitral Fibrosa.

Ann Thorac Surg 2019 11 27;108(5):1314-1323. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: Reconstruction of the intervalvular fibrosa (IVF) for invasive double-valve infective endocarditis (IE) is a technically challenging operation. This study presents the long-term outcomes of two surgical techniques for IVF reconstruction.

Methods: From 1988 to 2017, 138 patients with invasive double-valve IE underwent surgical reconstruction of the IVF, along with double-valve replacement (Commando procedure, n = 86) or aortic valve replacement with mitral valve repair (hemi-Commando procedure, n = 52). Mean follow-up was 41 ± 5.9 months.

Results: Reoperation was required in 82% of patients, and 34% underwent emergency surgery. Pathologic features included positive blood cultures (90%), prosthetic valve IE (75%), aortic root abscess (78%), mitral annular abscess (24%), and intracardiac fistula (12%). There were 28 hospital deaths: 21 (24%) in the Commando group and 7 (14%) in the hemi-Commando group (P = .12). Overall survival at 1, 5, and 10 years was 67%, 48%, and 37%, respectively. Coronary artery disease, native valve IE, and causative organism (Staphylococcus aureus, coagulase-negative Staphylococcus, and viridans streptococci) were risk factors for late mortality. Freedom from reoperation at 1, 5, and 8 years was 87%, 74%, and 55%, respectively. Freedom from recurrent IE at 1, 5, and 8 years was 90%, 78%, and 67%, respectively.

Conclusions: Although it is technically demanding, surgery for invasive IE involving IVF, which provides the only chance for cure, can be performed with reasonable clinical outcomes. In cases of IE invading the IVF and limited to the anterior mitral valve leaflet, a hemi-Commando procedure that includes mitral valve repair has improved early outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.04.119DOI Listing
November 2019

Prognostic Value of Preoperative Red Cell Distribution Width: Fine-Tuning by Mean Corpuscular Volume.

Ann Thorac Surg 2019 12 11;108(6):1830-1838. Epub 2019 Jun 11.

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.

Background: Abnormal red cell distribution width (RDW), reflecting heterogeneity of red blood cell (RBC) size, is associated with cardiovascular disease outcomes. However, whether RBC size itself, expressed as mean corpuscular volume (MCV), provides additional prognostic value is unclear. We therefore investigated the relationship between outcomes after cardiac surgery and both RDW and MCV simultaneously.

Methods: From January 2010 to January 2014, 16,097 patients underwent cardiac surgery at Cleveland Clinic and had complete blood count findings available for analysis. Outcomes included RBC transfusion, postoperative complications, and intensive care unit (ICU) and postoperative hospital lengths of stay. Risk-adjusted associations of RDW and MCV with outcomes and their relative importance in predicting outcome were identified by random forest machine learning.

Results: High RDW was associated with more RBC transfusions. Except for postoperative atrial fibrillation, risks of complications and ICU and postoperative lengths of stay were at their minimum when RDW was normal, 13% to 14%. The relationship of MCV to complications was U-shaped: high (macrocytosis) and low (microcytosis) values were associated with higher risk. RDW was an important risk factor for most postoperative outcomes and lengths of stay; MCV was less so, but provided prognostic value in addition to RDW alone, particularly when there was macrocytosis.

Conclusions: Abnormal RDW and MCV are associated with higher risk of transfusion and postoperative outcomes after cardiac surgery. RDW is one of the most important variables in predicting outcomes, but MCV provides additional prognostic value. Both should be taken into consideration when estimating the perioperative risk of patients undergoing cardiac surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.04.072DOI Listing
December 2019

Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Permanent Pacemaker Implantation After Aortic Valve Replacement.

Ann Thorac Surg 2019 09 26;108(3):700-707. Epub 2019 Apr 26.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: Damage to the cardiac conduction system requiring permanent pacemaker implantation is a complication of aortic valve replacement (AVR) that may importantly affect quality of life. We investigated the prevalence of and preprocedure risk factors for new permanent pacemakers after surgical (SAVR) and transcatheter AVR (TAVR) at a single institution.

Methods: Preoperative variables and baseline electrocardiograms were reviewed for 5807 patients undergoing elective SAVR, with or without coronary artery bypass grafting, and 1292 undergoing TAVR, with or without percutaneous coronary intervention, from 2006 to 2017 at Cleveland Clinic. Patients with previous permanent pacemakers were excluded. Risk factors for permanent pacemaker implantation were identified using multivariable logistic regression analysis.

Results: New permanent pacemakers were implanted in 151 (2.6%) after SAVR and in 125 (9.7%) after TAVR (whole group SAVR vs TAVR, P <.0001). Risk factors for pacemaker implantation after TAVR included preoperative conduction disturbances and type of prosthesis (SAPIEN, 9.5%; SAPIEN XT, 4.8%; SAPIEN 3, 10% [Edwards Lifesciences, Irvine, CA]; CoreValve, 30% [Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN]; and other TAVR, 10%). There were no reliable risk factors for pacemaker implantation after SAVR. Bicuspid valves, mechanical vs bioprosthetic valves, higher Society of Thoracic Surgeons risk score, and concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting were not associated with elevated risk.

Conclusions: At a high-volume institution in the current era, establishing a baseline for pacemaker implantation after AVR is necessary. Preoperative conduction disturbances and transcatheter valve type affect its prevalence. These data provide a benchmark that should be taken into account when considering TAVR in low-risk patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2019.03.056DOI Listing
September 2019

Advances in managing the noninfected open chest after cardiac surgery: Negative-pressure wound therapy.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019 05 27;157(5):1891-1903.e9. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Objective: The objective of this study was to compare safety and clinical effectiveness of negative-pressure wound therapy (NPWT) with traditional wound therapy for managing noninfected open chests with delayed sternal closure after cardiac surgery.

Methods: From January 2000 to July 2015, 452 of 47,325 patients who underwent full sternotomy left the operating room with a noninfected open chest (0.96%), managed using NPWT in 214-with frequency of use rapidly increasing to near 100%-and traditionally in 238. Predominant indications for open-chest management were uncontrolled coagulopathy or hemodynamic compromise on attempted chest closure. Weighted propensity-score matching was used to assess in-hospital complications and time-related survival.

Results: NPWT and traditionally managed patients had similar high-risk preoperative profiles. Most underwent reoperations (63% of the NPWT group and 57% of the traditional group), and 21% versus 25% were emergency procedures. Reexplorations for bleeding were less common with NPWT versus traditional wound therapy (n = 63 [29%] vs 104 [44%], P = .002). Median duration of open-chest to definitive sternal closure was 3.5 days for NPWT versus 3.1 for traditionally managed patients (P[log rank] = .07). Seven patients (3.3%) were converted from NPWT to traditional therapy because of hemodynamic intolerance and 6 (2.5%) from traditional to NPWT. No NPWT-related cardiovascular injuries occurred. Among matched patients, NPWT was associated with better early survival (61% vs 44% at 6 months; P = .02).

Conclusions: NPWT is safe and effective for managing noninfected open chests after cardiac surgery. By facilitating open-chest management and potentially improving outcomes, it has become our therapy of choice and perhaps has lowered our threshold for leaving the chest open after cardiac surgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2018.10.152DOI Listing
May 2019

Surgical treatment of right-sided infective endocarditis.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2019 04 25;157(4):1418-1427.e14. Epub 2018 Sep 25.

Heart and Vascular Institute, Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Electronic address:

Objective: Right-sided infective endocarditis is increasing because of increasing prevalence of predisposing conditions, and the role and outcomes of surgery are unclear. We therefore investigated the surgical outcomes for right-sided infective endocarditis.

Methods: From January 2002 to January 2015, 134 adults underwent surgery for right-sided infective endocarditis. Patients were grouped according to predisposing condition. Hospital outcomes, time-related death, and reoperation for infective endocarditis were analyzed.

Results: A total of 127 patients (95%) had tricuspid valve and 7 patients (5%) pulmonary valve infective endocarditis; 66 patients (49%) had isolated right-sided infective endocarditis, and 68 patients (51%) had right- and left-sided infective endocarditis. Predisposing conditions included injection drug use (30%), cardiac implantable devices (26%), chronic vascular access (19%), and other/none (25%). One native tricuspid valve was excised, 76% were repaired or reconstructed, and 23% were replaced. Intensive care unit and postoperative hospital stays were similar among groups. Injection drug users had the best early survival (no hospital mortality), and patients with chronic vascular access had the worst late survival (18% at 5 years). Survival was worst for concomitant mitral valve versus isolated right-sided infective endocarditis or concomitant aortic valve infective endocarditis. Survival after tricuspid valve replacement was worse than after repair/reconstruction. Estimated glomerular filtration rate was the strongest risk factor for death, not predisposing condition. Eleven patients underwent 12 reoperations for infective endocarditis; more reoperations occurred in injection drug users (P = .03).

Conclusions: Overall outcomes after surgery are variable and affected by patient condition, not predisposing condition. Injection drug use carries a higher risk of reoperation for infective endocarditis. Earlier surgery may permit more valve repairs and improve outcomes. Whenever possible, tricuspid valve replacement should be avoided.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2018.07.112DOI Listing
April 2019

Long-Term Patency of Individual Segments of Different Internal Thoracic Artery Graft Configurations.

Ann Thorac Surg 2019 03 2;107(3):740-746. Epub 2018 Nov 2.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: Internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts are the most durable conduits available for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). However, little is known about long-term angiographic outcomes of ITA grafts used in different configurations and whether sequential or Y grafting compromises patency of the inflow ITA graft.

Methods: From January 1972 to August 2016, 60,500 patients underwent primary isolated CABG, of whom 326 received ITA grafts placed in sequential or Y configuration and were studied angiographically (median 4.8 years to first follow-up angiogram). Each sequential or Y segment was studied individually using a mixed-effects longitudinal model with the patient as the random effect.

Results: At 15 years, patency of the proximal ITA segment (n = 331) was 99%; of a sequential segment (n = 222), 97%; and of the segment beyond anastomosis of a Y graft (n = 109), 99%. Patency of the Y grafts (n = 109) was 92% at 5 years, 91% at 10 years, and 90% at 15 years. After adjusting for proximal stenosis and graft location, Y grafts were associated with greater occlusion than the inflow segment of ITA grafts (odds ratio; 51, 95% confidence interval, 6.1 to 422; p = 0.003) and of sequential grafts (odds ratio, 12; 95% confidence interval, 1.14 to 120; p = 0.04).

Conclusions: Long-term patency of ITA grafts in sequential or Y configuration is similar qualitatively, but not quantitatively, to the known patency of single ITA-to-left anterior descending grafts. Sequential or Y grafting does not compromise patency of the inflow portion of an ITA graft. Y-graft patency is lower than sequential graft patency but is still better than known patency of saphenous vein grafts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2018.09.030DOI Listing
March 2019

Early and mid-term results of autograft rescue by Ross reversal: A one-valve disease need not become a two-valve disease.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2018 02 31;155(2):562-572. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Objectives: Risk of reoperation and loss of a second native valve are major drawbacks of the Ross operation. Rather than discarding the failed autograft, it can be placed back into the native pulmonary position by "Ross reversal." We review our early and mid-term results with this operation.

Methods: From 2006 to 2017, 39 patients underwent reoperation for autograft dysfunction. The autograft was successfully rescued in 35 patients: by Ross reversal in 30, David procedure in 4, and autograft repair in 1. Medical records were reviewed for patient characteristics (mean age was 46 ± 13 years, range 18-67 years, and 23 were male), previous operations, indications for reoperation, hospital outcomes, and echocardiographic findings for the 30 patients undergoing successful Ross reversal. Follow-up was 4.1 ± 3.5 years (range 7 months-11 years).

Results: Median interval between the original Ross procedure and Ross reversal was 12 years (range 5-19 years). Eight patients also had absolute indications for replacement of the pulmonary allograft. There was no operative mortality. One patient required reoperation for bleeding. Another had an abdominal aorta injury from use of an endoballoon clamp. There was no other major postoperative morbidity, and median postoperative hospital stay was 7.2 days (range 4-41 days). No patient required reoperation during follow-up. Twenty-four patients had acceptable pulmonary valve function, and 6 had clinically well-tolerated moderate or severe pulmonary regurgitation.

Conclusions: Ross reversal can be performed with low morbidity and acceptable pulmonary valve function, reducing patient risk of losing 2 native valves when the autograft fails in the aortic position.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2017.09.134DOI Listing
February 2018

Natural History of Moderate Coronary Artery Stenosis After Surgical Revascularization.

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 03 21;105(3):815-821. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: It remains controversial whether grafting moderately stenosed coronary arteries (MSCAs) influences native-vessel disease progression and whether grafting may protect against late myocardial ischemia.

Methods: From 1972 to 2011, 55,567 patients underwent primary isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG); 1,902 had a single coronary artery with angiographically moderate (50% to 69%) stenosis and ≥1 postoperative angiogram. Disease progression was studied in 489 nongrafted, 371 internal thoracic artery (ITA)-grafted, and 957 saphenous vein (SV)-grafted MSCAs, as well as patency of 376 ITA and 1,016 SV grafts to these MSCAs.

Results: At 1, 5, 10, and 15 years, native-vessel disease progressed from moderate to severe stenosis/occlusion in 32%, 52%, 66%, and 72% of nongrafted MSCAs; 55%, 73%, 84%, and 87% of ITA-grafted MSCAs; and 67%, 82%, 90%, and 92% of SV-grafted MSCAs. After adjusting for patient characteristics, MSCA disease progressed 3.6 times faster with ITA and 10 times faster with SV grafting compared with nongrafting. At these same time points, occlusion of ITA grafts to MSCAs was 8%, 9%, 11%, and 15% and for SV grafts, 13%, 32%, 46%, and 56%; protection from myocardial ischemia by ITA-grafted versus nongrafted MSCAs was 29%, 47%, 59%, and 61%.

Conclusions: Most MSCAs progress to severe stenosis or occlusion in the long term. Progression is faster in grafted than nongrafted MSCAs, more so with SV than ITA grafts. However, ITA grafts to such arteries have excellent patency, providing long-term protection from myocardial ischemia. Therefore, ITA grafting of MSCAs should be considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.08.053DOI Listing
March 2018

Preoperative Anemia in Cardiac Operation: Does Hemoglobin Tell the Whole Story?

Ann Thorac Surg 2018 Jan 8;105(1):100-107. Epub 2017 Nov 8.

Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: Preoperative anemia, defined by hemoglobin level, is associated with elevated risk after cardiac operation. Better understanding of anemia requires characterization beyond this. This investigation focuses on red cell size and its association with patient characteristics and outcomes after cardiac operation.

Methods: From January 2010 to January 2014, 10,589 patients underwent elective cardiac operations at Cleveland Clinic. Anemia was characterized as normocytic, microcytic, or macrocytic based on mean corpuscular volume (MCV). Models for hospital complications were developed using multivariable logistic regression. Other outcomes were postoperative transfusion and intensive care unit (ICU) and postoperative hospital lengths of stay.

Results: A total of 2,715 patients (26%) were anemic. Of these, 2,365 (87%) had normocytic, 219 (8.1%) microcytic, and 131 (4.8%) macrocytic anemia. Non-anemic patients (n = 2,041, 26%) received transfusions compared with 1,553 (66%) normocytic, 148 (68%) microcytic, and 97 (74%) macrocytic anemia patients. Patients with normocytic or macrocytic anemia had more renal failure (normocytic: odds ratio (OR) 1.9, macrocytic: OR 3.5), other complications (normocytic: OR 1.3, macrocytic: OR 2.2) and death (normocytic: OR 2.0, macrocytic: OR 6.2) than non-anemic patients; patients with microcytic anemia had fewer reoperations (OR 0.35) and less postoperative atrial fibrillation (OR 0.50). Anemic patients experienced longer ICU (27 versus 48 hours, p < 0.001) and postoperative hospital (6.1 versus 7.4 days, p < 0.001) length of stay than non-anemic patients.

Conclusions: Cardiac surgical patients are often anemic. Demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and outcomes are dissimilar according to red cell size. Patients with microcytic anemia had the lowest hemoglobin levels, yet the best clinical outcomes among anemic patients. MCV from the standard complete blood count adds additional information beyond hemoglobin for targeted intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.06.074DOI Listing
January 2018

Rarity of invasiveness in right-sided infective endocarditis.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2018 01 16;155(1):54-61.e1. Epub 2017 Aug 16.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Objective: The rarity of invasiveness of right-sided infective endocarditis (IE) compared with left-sided has not been well recognized and evaluated. Thus, we compared invasiveness of right- versus left-sided IE in surgically treated patients.

Patients And Methods: From January 2002 to January 2015, 1292 patients underwent surgery for active IE, 138 right-sided and 1224 left-sided. Among patients with right-sided IE, 131 had tricuspid and 7 pulmonary valve IE; 12% had prosthetic valve endocarditis. Endocarditis-related invasiveness was based on echocardiographic and operative findings.

Results: Invasive disease was rare on the right side, occurring in 1 patient (0.72%; 95% confidence interval 0.02%-4.0%); rather, it was limited to valve cusps/leaflets or was superficial. In contrast, IE was invasive in 408 of 633 patients with aortic valve (AV) IE (65%), 113 of 369 with mitral valve (MV) IE (31%), and 148 of 222 with AV and MV IE (67%). Staphylococcus aureus was a more predominant organism in right-sided than left-sided IE (right 40%, AV 19%, MV 29%), yet invasion was observed almost exclusively on the left side of the heart, which was more common and more severe with AV than MV IE and more common with prosthetic valve endocarditis than native valve IE.

Conclusions: Rarity of right-sided invasion even when caused by S aureus suggests that invasion and development of cavities/"abscesses" in patients with IE may be driven more by chamber pressure than organism, along with other reported host-microbial interactions. The lesser invasiveness of MV compared with AV IE suggests a similar mechanism: decompression of MV annulus invasion site(s) toward the left atrium.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2017.07.068DOI Listing
January 2018

Similar Outcomes in Diabetes Patients After Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting With Single Internal Thoracic Artery Plus Radial Artery Grafting and Bilateral Internal Thoracic Artery Grafting.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Dec 18;104(6):1923-1932. Epub 2017 Aug 18.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: The purpose of this study was to determine in patients with diabetes mellitus whether single internal thoracic artery (SITA) plus radial artery (RA) grafting yields outcomes similar to those of bilateral internal thoracic artery (BITA) grafting.

Methods: From January 1994 to January 2011, 1,325 diabetic patients underwent primary isolated coronary artery bypass graft surgery with either (1) SITA plus RA with or without saphenous vein (SV) grafts (n = 965) or (2) BITA with or without SV grafts (n = 360); an internal thoracic artery was used in all patients to graft the left anterior descending coronary artery. Endpoints were in-hospital outcomes and time-related mortality. Median follow-up was 7.4 years, with a total follow-up of 9,162 patient-years. Propensity score matching was performed to identify 282 well-matched pairs for adjusted comparisons.

Results: Unadjusted in-hospital mortality was 0.52% for SITA plus RA with or without SV grafts and 0.28% for BITA with or without SV grafts, and prevalence of deep sternal wound infection was 3.2% and 1.7%, respectively. Unadjusted survival at 1, 5, 10, and 14 years was 97%, 88%, 68%, and 51% for SITA plus RA with or without SV grafts, and 97%, 95%, 80%, and 66% for BITA with or without SV grafts, respectively. Among propensity-matched patients, in-hospital mortality (0.35% versus 0.35%) and prevalence of deep sternal wound infection (1.4% versus 1.4%) were similar (p > 0.9) in the two groups, as was 1-, 5-, 10-, and 14-year survival: 97%, 90%, 70%, and 58% for SITA plus RA with or without SV grafting versus 97%, 93%, 79%, and 64% for BITA with or without SV grafting, respectively (early p = 0.8, late p = 0.2).

Conclusions: For diabetic patients, SITA plus RA with or without SV grafting and BITA with or without SV grafting yield similar in-hospital outcomes and long-term survival after coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Therefore, both SITA plus RA and BITA plus SV grafting should be considered for these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2017.05.050DOI Listing
December 2017

Influence of Diabetes on Long-Term Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Patency.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2017 Aug;70(5):515-524

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: Nearly 50% of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting have diabetes. However, little is known about the influence of diabetes on long-term patency of bypass grafts. Because patients with diabetes have more severe coronary artery stenosis, we hypothesized that graft patency is worse in patients with than without diabetes.

Objectives: This study sought to examine the influence of diabetes on long-term patency of bypass grafts.

Methods: From 1972 to 2011, 57,961 patients underwent primary isolated coronary artery bypass grafting. Of these, 1,372 pharmacologically treated patients with diabetes and 10,147 patients without diabetes had 15,887 postoperative angiograms; stenosis was quantified for 7,903 internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts and 20,066 saphenous vein grafts. Status of graft patency across time was analyzed by longitudinal nonlinear mixed-effects modeling.

Results: ITA graft patency was stable over time and similar in patients with and without diabetes: at 1, 5, 10, and 20 years, 97%, 97%, 96%, and 96% in patients with diabetes, and 96%, 96%, 95%, and 93% in patients without diabetes, respectively (early p = 0.20; late p = 0.30). In contrast, saphenous vein graft patency declined over time and similarly in patients with and without diabetes: at 1, 5, 10, and 20 years, 78%, 70%, 57%, and 42% in patients with diabetes, and 82%, 72%, 58%, and 41% in patients without diabetes, respectively (early p < 0.002; late p = 0.60). After adjusting for patient characteristics, diabetes was associated with higher early patency of ITA grafts (odds ratio: 0.63; 95% confidence limits: 0.43 to 0.91; p = 0.013), but late patency of ITA grafts was similar in patients with and without diabetes (p = 0.80). Early and late patency of saphenous vein grafts were similar in patients with and without diabetes (early p = 0.90; late p = 0.80).

Conclusions: Contrary to our hypothesis, diabetes did not influence long-term patency of bypass grafts. Use of ITA grafts should be maximized in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting because they have excellent patency in patients with and without diabetes even after 20 years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2017.05.061DOI Listing
August 2017

Comparison of Outcomes of Pericardiocentesis Versus Surgical Pericardial Window in Patients Requiring Drainage of Pericardial Effusions.

Am J Cardiol 2017 Sep 15;120(5):883-890. Epub 2017 Jun 15.

Heart and Vascular Institute, Center for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Pericardial Disease, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Comparative outcomes of patients undergoing pericardiocentesis or pericardial window are limited. Development of pericardial effusion after cardiac surgery is common but no data exist to guide best management. Procedural billing codes and Cleveland Clinic surgical registries were used to identify 1,281 patients who underwent either pericardiocentesis or surgical pericardial window between January 2000 and December 2012. The 656 patients undergoing an intervention for a pericardial effusion secondary to cardiac surgery were also compared. Propensity scoring was used to identify well-matched patients in each group. In the overall cohort, in-hospital mortality was similar between the group undergoing pericardiocentesis and surgical drainage (5.3% vs 4.4%, p = 0.49). Similar outcomes were found in the propensity-matched group (4.9% vs 6.1%, p = 0.55). Re-accumulation was more common after pericardiocentesis (24% vs 10%, p <0.0001) and remained in the matched cohorts (23% vs 9%, p <0.0001). The secondary outcome of hemodynamic instability after the procedure was more common in the pericardial window group in both the unmatched (5.2% vs 2.9%, p = 0.036) and matched cohorts (6.1% vs 2.0%, p = 0.022). In the subgroup of patients with a pericardial effusion secondary to cardiac surgery, there was a lower mortality after pericardiocentesis in the unmatched group (1.5% vs 4.6%, p = 0.024); however, after adjustment, this difference in mortality was no longer present (2.6% vs 4.5%, p = 0.36). In conclusion, both pericardiocentesis and surgical pericardial window are safe and effective treatment strategies for the patient with a pericardial effusion. In our study there were no significant differences in mortality in patients undergoing either procedure. Observed differences in outcomes with regard to recurrence rates, hemodynamic instability, and in those with postcardiac surgery effusions may help to guide the clinician in management of the patient requiring therapeutic or diagnostic drainage of a pericardial effusion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.06.003DOI Listing
September 2017

Does a similar procedure result in similar survival for women and men undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting?

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2017 03 21;153(3):571-579.e9. Epub 2016 Nov 21.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Objectives: To (1) identify sex-related differences in risk factors and revascularization strategies for patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), (2) assess whether these differences influenced early and late survival, and (3) determine whether clinical effectiveness of the same revascularization strategy was influenced by sex.

Methods: From January 1972 to January 2011, 57,943 adults-11,009 (19%) women-underwent primary isolated CABG. Separate models for long-term mortality were developed for men and women, followed by assessing sex-related differences in strength of risk factors (interaction terms).

Results: Incomplete revascularization was more common in men than women (26% vs 22%, P < .0001), but women received fewer bilateral internal thoracic artery (ITA) grafts (4.8% vs 12%; P < .0001) and fewer arterial grafts (68% vs 70%; P < .0001). Overall, women had lower survival than men after CABG (65% and 31% at 10 and 20 years, respectively, vs 74% and 41%; P ≤ .0001), even after risk adjustment. Incomplete revascularization was associated equally (P > .9) with lower survival in both sexes. Single ITA grafting was associated with equally (P = .3) better survival in women and men. Although bilateral ITA grafting was associated with better survival than single ITA grafting, it was less effective in women-11% lower late mortality (hazard ratio, 0.89 [0.77-1.022]) versus 27% lower in men (hazard ratio, 0.73 [0.69-0.77]; P = .01).

Conclusions: Women on average have longer life expectancies than men but not after CABG. Every attempt should be made to use arterial grafting and complete revascularization, but for unexplained reasons, sex-related differences in effectiveness of bilateral arterial grafting were identified.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2016.11.033DOI Listing
March 2017

Is Close Surveillance Indicated for Indolent Cancers? The Carcinoid Story.

Semin Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2016 Summer;28(2):541-548. Epub 2016 Jul 14.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

The objective of this article is to determine the relevance of close postresection surveillance for bronchopulmonary carcinoid. From 2006 to 2013, 57 patients underwent lung resection for bronchopulmonary carcinoid. They were assessed for effects of clinical presentation, subtype, stage, and tobacco use on survival and recurrence. Utility of bronchoscopy and radiographic surveillance was reviewed. Mean follow-up was 2.1 ± 1.7 years. Carcinoid patients presented at a young age (51 ± 15 years) with normal spirometry regardless of smoking status (forced 1-second expiratory volume, 88% ± 19% for never smokers vs 87% ± 16% for smokers). Thirty-nine patients underwent a lobectomy (2 sleeve resections) and 11 pneumonectomy or bilobectomy. Most carcinoids were of the typical (n = 53, 93%) rather than atypical (n = 4, 7.0%) subtype. Staging from pathology was unaffected by smoking status. Eight patients had positive lymph nodes at resection (13% of typical and 25% of atypical subtypes). One recurrence was an atypical pN0 carcinoid. Of 57 patients, 18 were surveilled postoperatively with bronchoscopy, which revealed no recurrences. Furthermore, 146 follow-up computed tomography scans were performed on 53 of 57 patients. No typical carcinoid recurrences were identified by any postresection surveillance technique, regardless of stage. Bronchopulmonary carcinoid is a different entity from non-small cell lung cancer and has low recurrence and mortality risks independent of smoking status. It is hard to justify close surveillance following complete resection of typical carcinoid. Computed tomography scans at 5-year intervals might be reasonable and more cost effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.semtcvs.2016.05.014DOI Listing
June 2017

Valve Repair Is Superior to Replacement in Most Patients With Coexisting Degenerative Mitral Valve and Coronary Artery Diseases.

Ann Thorac Surg 2017 Jun 6;103(6):1833-1841. Epub 2016 Dec 6.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Background: For mitral regurgitation (MR) from degenerative mitral disease in patients with coexisting coronary artery disease, the appropriate surgical strategy remains controversial.

Methods: From 1985 to 2011, 1,071 adults (age 70 ± 9.3 years, 77% men) underwent combined coronary artery bypass grafting and either mitral valve repair (n = 872, 81%) or replacement (n=199, 19%) for degenerative MR. Propensity matching (177 patient pairs, 89% of possible matches) was used to compare early outcomes and time-related recurrence of MR after mitral valve repair, mitral valve reoperation, and mortality. Risk factors for death were identified with multivariable, multiphase hazard-function analysis.

Results: Patients undergoing valve replacement were older, with more valve calcification and a higher prevalence of preoperative atrial fibrillation and heart failure (all p < .0001). Among matched pairs, mitral replacement versus repair was associated with higher hospital mortality (5.0% vs 1.0%, p = .0001) and more postoperative renal failure (7.0% vs 3.2%, p = .01), reexplorations for bleeding (6.0% vs 3.1%, p = .05), and respiratory failure (14% vs 4.7%, p < .0001). Of matched patients undergoing repair, 18% had MR above 3+ by 5 years. Mitral valve durability was similar between matched groups, but survival at 15 years was 18% after replacement versus 52% after repair. Nomograms from the multivariable equation revealed that in 94% of cases, 10-year survival was calculated to be higher after repair than after replacement.

Conclusions: In patients with coexisting degenerative mitral valve and coronary artery diseases, mitral valve repair is expected to confer a long-term survival advantage over replacement despite some recurrence of MR. When feasible, it is the procedure of choice for these patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2016.08.076DOI Listing
June 2017

Incidence, indications, risk factors, and survival of patients undergoing cardiac implantable electronic device implantation after open heart surgery.

Europace 2017 Aug;19(8):1335-1342

Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Sydell and Arnold Miller Heart & Vascular Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Mail Code J3, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.

Aims: The incidence, indications, and risk factors for cardiac implantable electronic device (CIED) implantation after cardiac surgery in an era with an aging population are not well described. There are limited data about the survival of these patients compared with a non-device group. We aimed to evaluate the incidence, indications, and risk factors for postoperative CIED implantation. We also assessed survival of these patients compared with a non-device group.

Methods: We included all patients without prior CIED implantation who underwent cardiac surgery at our institution from 1996 to 2008. Characteristics associated with CIED implantation were identified by multivariable logistic regression. A propensity model was constructed to compare survival.

Results: A total of 39 546 patients were included in the study of which 1608 patients (4.1%) underwent postoperative CIED implantation. Conduction disease accounted for most devices, but 371 patients underwent CIED implantation for secondary prevention of ventricular arrhythmias. Risk factors associated with implantation included older age, valvular disease, atrial fibrillation, and prior surgery. The propensity-adjusted risk of early death (within 1 year) was significantly less in the device group (hazard ratio [HR] 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.22-0.65; P = 0.0004). However, the propensity-adjusted risk of late death was significantly greater in the device group (HR 1.3; 95% CI 1.2-1.5; P = <0.0001).

Conclusion: Despite an aging population, the incidence of CIED implantation after cardiac surgery remains low and varies by the type of operation. Follow-up suggests increased early survival but decreased late survival in patients who undergo CIED implantation compared with a non-device group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euw234DOI Listing
August 2017

How important is coronary artery disease when considering lung transplant candidates?

J Heart Lung Transplant 2016 12 30;35(12):1453-1461. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery. Electronic address:

Background: Coronary artery disease (CAD) remains a relative contraindication for lung transplantation, but should it be if amenable to effective palliation?

Methods: From January 2005 to July 2010, 356 adults undergoing primary lung transplantation had no significant (<50%) coronary arterial stenosis and 70 had significant (≥50%) CAD requiring prior or concomitant revascularization. Propensity matching on 38 pre-transplant patient characteristics identified 61 well-matched pairs (87% of possible matches) and 295 no-CAD unmatched patients to compare post-operative morbidity, graft function, and time-related pulmonary function and survival.

Results: Compared with no-CAD patients, those with CAD intervention were older, more likely to be male, had more comorbidities, and were more likely to have idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Among propensity-matched patients, 5 died in-hospital in the CAD intervention group and 6 in the no-CAD group (p = 0.7). Intensive care unit stay (5 vs 7 days), post-operative stay (14 vs 15 days), tracheostomy requirement (12 vs 11 patients), primary graft dysfunction scores (p >0.8), and early longitudinal post-transplant pulmonary function (p = 0.2) were similar, as was time-related mortality (20% vs 22% and 51% vs 52% at 1 and 4 years, respectively; p = 0.6). Unmatched no-CAD patients had fewer comorbidities and lower mortality than matched patients (15% and 39% at 1 and 4 years, respectively; p = 0.01).

Conclusions: CAD is an important risk factor in lung transplant candidates, but its influence can be minimized in experienced centers by effective palliation. Surprisingly, however, CAD is a marker for an unfavorable patient phenotype with worse than typical post-transplant survival, irrespective of whether CAD is present.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.healun.2016.03.011DOI Listing
December 2016

Does grafting coronary arteries with only moderate stenosis affect long-term mortality?

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2016 Mar 23;151(3):806-811.e3. Epub 2015 Oct 23.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Objective: Stenting coronary arteries with non-ischemia-producing moderate stenosis leads to worse outcomes than leaving them unstented. We sought to determine whether grafting coronary arteries with angiographically moderate stenosis is associated with worse long-term survival than leaving them ungrafted.

Methods: From 1972 to 2011, 55,567 patients underwent primary isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG); 8531 had a single coronary artery with moderate (50%-69%) stenosis, bypassed in 6598 (77%) and not bypassed in 1933 (23%). These arteries were grafted with internal thoracic arteries (ITAs) in 1806 patients (27%) and with saphenous veins (SVs) in 4625 (70%). Mean follow-up for all-cause mortality was 13.0 ± 9.7 years.

Results: Survival was similar for patients with and without a graft to the moderately stenosed coronary artery (P = .3): 97%, 76%, 43%, and 18% at 1, 10, 20, and 30 years among patients receiving no graft; 97%, 74%, 41%, and 18% among those receiving an SV graft; and 98%, 82%, 51%, and 23% among those receiving an ITA graft. After adjusting for patient characteristics, SV grafting versus nongrafting of moderately stenosed coronary arteries was associated with similar long-term mortality (P = .2), whereas ITA grafting was associated with 22% lower long-term mortality (hazard ratio 0.78; 68% confidence interval 0.75-0.82; P < .0001).

Conclusions: Grafting coronary arteries with angiographically moderate stenosis is not harmful. Instead, ITA grafting of such coronary arteries is associated with lower long-term mortality. Thus, after placing the first ITA to the left anterior descending, the second ITA should be placed to the second most important coronary artery, even if it is moderately stenosed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2015.10.021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5125384PMC
March 2016

Distal aortic interventions after repair of ascending dissection: the argument for a more aggressive approach.

J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2015 Feb 20;149(2 Suppl):S117-24.e3. Epub 2014 Nov 20.

Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.

Objective: Survivors of ascending aortic dissection repair frequently require downstream aortic interventions. Because of a paucity of data, we assessed early and long-term outcomes, and risk factors, of these distal procedures.

Methods: From January 1993 to January 2011, 305 patients underwent 429 distal aortic interventions after acute type A (95% DeBakey type I) dissection repair performed 3.8 years earlier (median); 11% of interventions used an endovascular approach. Maximum aortic size was 5.9 ± 1.3 cm. Median follow-up was 3.6 years.

Results: Hospital mortality was 6.1%. Risk factors included graft infection, concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting, combined open arch and descending procedures, and lower distal anastomotic site. Within 10 years, the probability of patients undergoing a reintervention was 38%, with a cumulative incidence of 55 per 100 patients; however, 40 (9.3%) were stage-II elephant trunks. Patients with larger aortic diameters distal to the initial repair, and a stage-I elephant trunk, were more likely to undergo distal interventions. Survival was 65% at 10 years. Higher body mass index, a longer time between reinterventions, graft infection, combined open arch and descending procedures, and lower distal anastomosis sites were risk factors. The extent of aorta replaced was not associated with increased morbidity or mortality, unless it involved a combined open arch and descending aorta procedure.

Conclusions: Distal interventions after ascending aortic dissection repair are feasible, but they are associated with early morbidity and subsequent reinterventions. Rigorous follow-up with early reintervention is important for improving short- and long-term outcomes. An extended hybrid endovascular repair for initial dissection warrants study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtcvs.2014.11.029DOI Listing
February 2015

Prolonged effect of postoperative infectious complications on survival after cardiac surgery.

Ann Thorac Surg 2015 May 14;99(5):1591-9. Epub 2015 Feb 14.

Department of Cardiothoracic Anesthesia, Heart and Vascular Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio. Electronic address:

Background: Whether patients having infections after cardiac surgery are at a survival disadvantage after hospital discharge is unclear. Our objectives were (1) to identify characteristics of such patients and (2) to determine whether this complication is associated with increased mortality beyond hospital discharge.

Methods: In all, 30,414 patients were discharged after isolated coronary artery bypass grafting, valve, ascending aorta repair, or combined procedures from January 2000 to January 2011. Surgical site infection, septicemia, pneumonia, and urinary tract infection occurred in 1,868 patients (6.1%). Propensity matching was used to account for differences in perioperative characteristics and postoperative in-hospital events between these patients and those not having postoperative infections, to give 1,593 propensity-matched pairs. Time-related mortality and instantaneous risk were compared.

Results: Surgical site infection occurred in 122 patients (0.40%), sternal wound infection in 263 (0.86%), septicemia in 656 (2.2%), urinary tract infection in 853 (2.8%), and pneumonia in 513 (1.7%). Infections were associated with older age, female sex, larger body mass index, and multiple comorbidities. Among 1,593 propensity-matched pairs, postdischarge survival at 6 months and at 1, 5, and 10 years, respectively, was 89%, 86%, 67%, and 45% for patients without infections, and 86%, 83%, 63%, and 43% (p = 0.008) for patients with infections. Survival differences resulted from a higher, but gradually declining, early instantaneous risk during the first year after surgery. Elevated risk was of shorter duration for surgical site infections than for other infections.

Conclusions: Postoperative infection is associated with a high-risk patient profile, and risk of death is elevated early after hospital discharge. Reasons for this prolonged effect are unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.athoracsur.2014.12.037DOI Listing
May 2015
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