What are the risks of pulmonary complications after cardiac surgery? Prolonged ventilation can be a major obstacle

Souheil El-Chemaly, Alexandre Abreu, Bruce P. Krieger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


One of the most worrisome complications of cardiac surgery is a decline in pulmonary function severe enough to necessitate prolonged mechanical ventilator support. Risk factors for prolonged mechanical ventilation include advanced age, preoperative decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 second, postoperative renal dysfunction, severe left ventricular dysfunction, and pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary complications that can occur after cardiac surgery include atelectasis, diaphragmatic dysfunction, pulmonary edema, acute respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary embolism, and infection. The most common cause of postoperative pulmonary edema is preexisting poor left ventricular function, coupled with the negative inotropic effects of anesthesia and left ventricular diastolic dysfunction. Chest radiographs can detect many of these complications; however, CT scanning may be better at detecting bibasilar atelectasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Critical Illness
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2003



  • Causes of complications
  • Chest radiographic findings
  • Clinical Conclusions
  • Respiratory inductive plethysmography
  • Weaning methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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