Patients under Psychiatric Medication Undergoing Cardiac Surgery Have a Higher Risk for Adverse Events

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The percentage of patients undergoing cardiac surgery under some sort of psychiatric medication (PM) is not negligible. Thus, this study aimed to evaluate a possible impact of preoperative PM on the outcome after cardiac surgery.


A matched case-control study was conducted by including all patients who underwent myocardial revascularization and/or surgical valve operation in our institution from December 2008 till February 2011 by chart review and institutional quality assurance database (QS) analysis.


Out of 1,949 patients included, 184 patients (9%) were identified with PM medication (group A). A control group matched for logistic EuroSCORE II, ejection fraction and age was generated (group C). Patients with PM were in mean significantly longer on the intensive care unit (A: 4.94 days; 95% confidence interval (CI), 3.9-5.9 days vs. C: 3.24 days; CI, 2.84-3.64 days; p = 0.003), had longer mechanical ventilation times (A: 36.70 hours; CI, 19.81-53.59 hours vs. C: 20.14 hours; CI, 14.61-25.68 hours; p = 0.258), and significantly more episodes of respiratory insufficiencies (A: 31 episodes [17%] vs. C: 17 episodes [9%]; p = 0.002). Regression analysis revealed preoperative PM as a significant risk factor for respiratory insufficiency (odds ratio: 1.99, CI: 1.0-3.74; p = 0.04). Chest tube drainage (A: 690 mL, CI: 571-808 mL vs. C: 690 mL; CI: 496-884 mL, p = 0.53) and the total amount of red blood cell transfusion units were similar (A: 1.69 units; CI: 1.21-2.18 units vs. C: 1.50 units; CI: 1.04-1.96 units; p = 0.37). Sternal dehiscence requiring sternal refixation was significantly more frequent in A (12 patients [7%] vs. C: 2 patients [1%]; odds ratio: 6.3, CI: 1.4-28.7; p = 0.01). The 30-day mortality was similar in both groups (A: 6 patients [3%] vs. C: 4 patients [2%]; odds ratio: 1.5; CI: 0.4-5.4; p = 0.5); however, the 100-day mortality was near significantly higher in group A (A: 14 patients (8%) vs. C: 6 patients (3%); odds ratio: 2.4, CI: 0.9-6.5, p = 0.057).


Patients with preoperative PM developed complications more frequently compared with a matched control group. The underlying multifactorial mechanisms remain unclear. Patients under PM need to be identified and particular care including optimal pre- and postoperative psychiatric assistance is recommended.

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