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Predicting Trouble After Bypass Surgery

Abnormalities detected during procedure led to greater risk of later problems

WEDNESDAY, April 28, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- People who have heart bypass surgery are twice as likely to have a heart attack, die or need further bypass surgery or an angioplasty procedure within two years if they have abnormalities in the motion of the heart's main pumping chamber during surgery.

That's what Duke University Medical Center researchers reported on April 27 at the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists annual meeting in Honolulu.

The findings suggest doctors need to closely follow these patients after they're discharged from hospital.

Of the 1,543 cardiac bypass patients in the study, 221 had a major cardiac event within two years of their surgery.

The Duke team used transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to check for abnormal movements in the walls of the left ventricle while the patients were having bypass surgery. During TEE, a small probe is pushed down through the esophagus to a location behind the heart. From that location, the probe is able to provide moving images of the heart.

"Ours was the first large-scale study to examine whether or not new wall motion abnormalities detected during surgery were predictive of long-term outcomes," Dr. Daniel DeMeyts, a cardiothoracic anesthesiology fellow, said in a prepared statement.

"The results of our analysis do clearly show that the presence of new abnormal movements in the walls of the left ventricle put bypass patients at a higher risk of future adverse outcomes," he said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about bypass surgery.

SOURCE: Duke University, news release, April 27, 2004
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