Right-Sided Heart Failure and Extracorporeal Life Support in Patients Undergoing Pericardiectomy for Constrictive Pericarditis: A Risk Factor Analysis for Adverse Outcome

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Abstract

Background

Right ventricular failure is a life-threatening postoperative complication after pericardiectomy. We conducted a retrospective study with a special emphasis on right ventricular failure.

Methods

Between June 1997 and September 2011, 69 patients underwent surgical pericardiectomy at our center. Mean age was 59 (± 15.5) years, and 49 (71%) patients were male. Causes of constrictive pericarditis included idiopathic (52%, n = 36), tuberculosis (9%, n = 6), postcardiotomy (12%, n = 8), radiation (4%, n = 3), renal insufficiency (12%, n = 8), and autoimmune disease (12%, n = 8). Concomitant cardiac surgery was performed in 33 (48%) patients.

Results

In-hospital mortality rate was 14% (10/69 patients). Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) was necessary in 8 (12%) cases because of right (n = 7) or biventricular (n = 1) failure. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation between early mortality and the following preoperative variables: postcardiotomy (p = 0.049), radiation (p = 0.009), pleural effusion (p = 0.012), ascites (p = 0.039), hepatic congestion (p = 0.023), absence of calcification on X-ray (p = 0.041), tricuspid valve insufficiency (TI, p < 0.001), and low cardiac index (p = 0.003). Diuretic usage (p = 0.044), peripheral edema (p = 0.050), low voltage (p = 0.027), dip-plateau sign (p = 0.027), elevated GGT (p < 0.001), and decreased serum protein (p < 0.001) correlated with ECMO implantation. Binary logistic regression identified pleural effusion (OR = 16.2, 95% CI = 1.4-191.5), moderate/severe TI (OR = 28.8, 95% CI = 2.7-306.8) and low cardiac index (OR = 25.3, 95% CI = 2.0-315.6) as preoperative independent risk factors for early mortality, whereas elevated GGT (OR = 28.3, 95% CI = 2.4-329.2) and decreased protein (OR = 24.7, 95% CI = 1.8-343.7) could predict right ventricular failure with the need for ECMO.

Conclusion

We recommend nondelayed ECMO support in case of significant postoperative right-sided heart failure. High-risk patients might benefit from elective pre- or intraoperative ECMO implantation.

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