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Respiratory dysfunction is a well-recognized complication of cardiac operations. To quantify its current incidence and severity after uncomplicated cardiopulmonary bypass, serial measurements of arterial oxygen tension (PaO2), alveolar-arterial oxygen gradient (AaO2), and percentage pulmonary shunt fraction (%PSF) measured by a noninvasive technique were made in 129 patients (age, 59 +/- 8 years (mean +/- standard deviation) with good left ventricular function (left ventricular end-diastolic pressure < 15 mm Hg) undergoing isolated coronary artery operations (group 1) and 30 patients undergoing general surgical procedures (group 2). Measurements were made before operation and on the first, second, and sixth postoperative days. Seven patients in group 1 who required prolonged ventilation were excluded from further study. In group 1, between the preoperative and second postoperative days, there was a marked fall in PaO2 [89 +/- 11 versus 57 +/- 9 mm Hg; p < 0.001] and a marked increase in the AaO2 gradient [18 +/- 10 versus 50 +/- 11 mm Hg; p < 0.001)] and %PSF [3 +/- 1% versus 19 +/- 6%; p < 0.001)] with only modest improvement by the sixth postoperative day [PaO2, 67 +/- 11 mm Hg; AaO2, 45 +/- 11 mm Hg; %PSF, 15 +/- 4]. There were similar but less severe changes in PaO2 and AaO2 gradients in group 2 patients, with a return to baseline values by day 6.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original publication




Journal article


Ann Thorac Surg

Publication Date





1123 - 1128


Aged, Blood Pressure, Cardiopulmonary Bypass, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Oxygen Consumption, Postoperative Care, Postoperative Complications, Preoperative Care, Pulmonary Circulation, Pulmonary Gas Exchange, Regression Analysis, Respiratory Insufficiency, Severity of Illness Index, Time Factors, Ventricular Function, Left