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To assess the incidence of major complications in the postoperative recovery unit and to analyze the associated recipient, donor, and surgical risk factors.
Material and methods
We studied a series of consecutive orthotopic heart transplants carried out in our hospital from 2001 through 2007. Patients who experienced major complications during their stay in the recovery ward were compared with those who did not. Exitus, primary graft failure, severe infection, and need for hemodialysis were considered major complications.
One hundred fifty-two patients were enrolled. The mean stay in the recovery unit was 3 days (range, 2.25-5 days). Thirty-nine patients (26%) developed major complications in the recovery unit and 113 did not. The complications were primary graft failure (20%), infection (12%), and acute renal failure (5.3%). Patients with and without major complications were significantly different with respect to mean (SD) age (55  vs 50  years, respectively; P=.001), presence of diabetes mellitus (41% vs 14%, P=.0001), classification in New York Heart Association functional class IV/IV status (54% vs 34%, P=.05), emergency transplantation (46% vs 18%, P=.001), mean cardiopulmonary bypass time (145  vs 119 , P=.03), pretransplant use of an intra-aortic balloon pump (15% vs 6%, P=.04). Multivariate analysis demonstrated an association between major complications and emergency transplantation (OR, 5.67; P=.001), recipient age over 55 years (OR, 2.99; P=.027), and diabetes mellitus (OR, 2.86; P=.048).
The incidence of major complications in our postoperative recovery unit was 26%. The most common complications were primary graft failure, infection, and acute renal failure. Emergency transplantation, older age, and a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus in the recipient were predictors of complication.
Revista espanola de anestesiologia y reanimacion 08/2008; 55(9):535–540.