Long-term prognosis after peri-operative cardiac complications

Mary Charlson, Janey Peterson, Ted P. Szatrowski, Ronald MacKenzie, Jeffrey Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


The objective was to document the 5 year prognosis of patients who had cardiac complications after non-cardiac surgery. Design: 5-year follow-up of 218 patients originally enrolled in a prospective study to identify risks factors for perioperative complications. Setting: an academic medical center. Participants were hypertensives and diabetics who underwent elective surgery between 1982 and 1985. In the original study, patients were evaluated pre-operatively, monitored intra-operatively by an independent observer, and followed daily for 7 days post-operatively according to a standard surveillance protocol. Outcomes were judged by assessors blinded to the pre-operative status and intra-operative course. Patients were interviewed at 3 and 5 years post-operatively. Patients with post-operative cardiac complications had significantly higher rates of overall mortality, mortality attributable to cardiac causes (MI, CHF, arrest), and mortality attributable to other cardiovascular causes (stroke, renal failure) than patients without cardiac complications. For example, at 5 years 11% of those patients without post-operative cardiac complications had cardiac deaths, in contrast to 45% of those patients with post-operative cardiac complications. Proportional hazards analysis demonstrated that post-operative cardiac complications remained a significant predictor of cardiac (p < 0.001) and cardiovascular (p < 0.0001) mortality controlling for pre-operative cardiac disease, other non-cardiovascular comorbid diseases, age, sex, diabetes, and pre-operative renal insufficiency or stroke. Similarly, patients with post-operative non-fatal cardiac complications had higher rates of cardiac or cardiovascular events during the 5 year follow-up period. We conclude that post-operative cardiac complications have a significant adverse long-term prognostic impact comparable to the prognostic impact of myocardial infarction, ischemia or congestive failure in the non-operative setting. Understanding these events could be an important factor in identifying patients at high risk for subsequent peri-operative complications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1389-1400
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiac mortality
  • Cardiovascular mortality
  • Peri-operative complications
  • Prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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