Respiratory failure after cardiac surgery

The true incidence of respiratory failure after cardiac surgery is difficult to determine because of the different weaning philosophies adopted and the need for ventilation for non-pulmonary reasons. In a study of 2256 patients in the United Kingdom, 7 per cent remained ventilated at 48 h and a third of these subsequently died ( 19.94). Many of these patients develop sepsis and subsequent multiple organ failure on a background of the pulmonary insult induced by cardiac surgery. The incidence of acute respiratory distress syndrome after cardiac surgery is 1 to 5 per cent. Particular risk factors include a high level of perioperative intervention, age over 60, and total pumped volume greater than 300 liters ( MesseOt. a/ 19.9.2).

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