Perioperative cardiovascular complications associated with blunt thoracic trauma
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The purpose of this study was to examine the frequency and importance of intraoperative mortality, arrhythmias and hypotension in the presence of thoracic trauma and to determine the effect of myocardial contusion on these perioperative complications. Over a two-year period patients with evidence of blunt thoracic injury who required surgery within 24 hr of admission were studied. The anaesthetist filled in a questionnaire on intraoperative events. Patients were also studied for the presence of myocardial injury with radionuclide angiography (RNA), at autopsy or at thoracotomy. Two hundred and one patients were studied. The intraoperative and overall mortality was 7.9% and 22.9% respectively. Of the operating room survivors the incidence of intraoperative arrhythmias and hypotension was 3.8% and 26.5% respectively. Only 5.9% of patients had a suspected or confirmed myocardial contusion. Patients were divided into two groups, those without myocardial injury were designated Group I, while those with myocardial contusion were designated Group II. The Group II patients had a greater severity of injury and intraoperative mortality (54.4%) than those in Group I (4.6%) P < 0.05. Intraoperative deaths were attributed to, with one exception, non-cardiac causes. There were no differences in the incidences of arrhythmias and hypotension between patients with-or without myocardial injury surviving the operating room. All patients with blunt thoracic injury may develop intraoperative arrhythmias or hypotension.
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