Phrenic nerve injury after coronary artery bypass grafting: Will it go away?

Michael G. Katz, Rama Katz, Arie Schachner, Amram J. Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background. Phrenic nerve injury after coronary artery bypass grafting resolves in most cases. The purpose of this study was to analyze the causes and effects of persistent phrenic nerve injury after coronary artery bypass grafting. Methods. From a registry of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting, 64 patients were identified who experienced phrenic nerve injury during their operation. Fifteen patients either died during follow-up (n = 9) or were lost to follow- up (n = 6). At the last follow-up visit, all the patients underwent an ultrasound evaluation of the diaphragm and were divided into those who had persistent dysfunction (group I) and those who had normal function (group II). The groups were compared for preoperative and operative risk factors, acute and midterm postoperative results, and quality of life at last follow- up. Results. There were 13 patients in group I and 36 in group II. There were no significant differences in preoperative and operative risk factors between the groups. The length of hospitalization was similar for both groups (9.2 ± 4.5 versus 8.5 ± 3.3 days, respectively; p = 0.77). More patients in group I required reintubation (23% versus 14%, respectively; p = 0.04). The mean duration of follow-up was 32.7 ± 9.2 months. At that time, both groups suffered a reduction of forced expiratory volume in 1 second compared with preoperative values. Group I had a greater reduction in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (p = 0.05). There were a total of 125 postoperative readmissions during the follow-up period, 36 in group I and 89 in group II. There were more admissions because of pulmonary problems in group I (85% versus 53%; p = 0.04). Of the 49 patients, 21 perceived a decline in quality of life after operation. More patients in group I (46% versus 22%; p = 0.05) complained of this decrease. Conclusions. A significant number of patients who incur phrenic nerve injury after coronary artery bypass grafting have persistent phrenic nerve injury. Patients with persistent phrenic nerve injury have increased acute and midterm morbidity after operation, as well as reduced quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-35
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1998

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