Key messages

• The low-risk postoperative cardiac surgical patient has similar ventilatory requirements to any postoperative patient and is generally extubated within hours.

• Coronary revascularization using the internal mammary arteries may lead to violation of the pleural space, pleural collections, and atelectasis, necessitating drainage.

• Valvular surgery and patients with pulmonary hypertension may require prolonged inotropic or vasodilatory support to achieve weaning.

• Cyanotic heart disease correction and assist devices require an understanding of the underlying physiology before weaning is attempted.

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