Medico-legal autopsy in postoperative hemodynamic collapse following coronary artery bypass surgery.

Summary of "Medico-legal autopsy in postoperative hemodynamic collapse following coronary artery bypass surgery."

Sudden unexpected postoperative hemodynamic collapse with a high mortality develops in 1-3% of patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG). The contribution of surgical graft complications to this serious condition is poorly known and their demonstration at autopsy is a challenging task. Isolated CABG was performed in 8,807 patients during 1988-1999. Of the patients, 76 (0.9%) developed sudden postoperative hemodynamic collapse resulting in subsequent emergency reopening of the median sternotomy and open cardiac massage. Further emergency reoperation could be performed in 62 (82%) whereas 14 patients died prior to reoperation and a further 21 did not survive the reoperation or died a few days later. All 35 (46%) patients who did not survive were subjected to medico-legal autopsy combined with postmortem cast angiography. By combining clinical data with autopsy and angiography data, various types of graft complications were observed in 27 (36%, 1.3 per patient) of the 76 patients with hemodynamic collapse. There were no significant differences in the frequency (33 vs. 40%) or number of complicated grafts per patient (1.2 vs. 1.4) between those who survived reoperation and who did not. Autopsy detected 25 major and minor findings not diagnosed clinically. Postmortem cast angiography visualized 2 graft twists not possible to detect by autopsy dissection only. Surgical graft complications were the most frequent single cause for sudden postoperative hemodynamic collapse in CABG patients leading to a fatal outcome in almost half of the cases. Postmortem angiography improved the accuracy of autopsy diagnostics of graft complications.


Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Jorvi Hospital, Espoo, Finland,

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Forensic science, medicine, and pathology
ISSN: 1556-2891


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Compression of the heart by accumulated fluid (PERICARDIAL EFFUSION) or blood (HEMOPERICARDIUM) in the PERICARDIUM surrounding the heart. The affected cardiac functions and CARDIAC OUTPUT can range from minimal to total hemodynamic collapse.

Abnormal balloon- or sac-like dilatation in the wall of CORONARY VESSELS. Most coronary aneurysms are due to CORONARY ATHEROSCLEROSIS, and the rest are due to inflammatory diseases, such as KAWASAKI DISEASE.

Malformations of CORONARY VESSELS, either arteries or veins. Included are anomalous origins of coronary arteries; ARTERIOVENOUS FISTULA; CORONARY ANEURYSM; MYOCARDIAL BRIDGING; and others.

Complete blockage of blood flow through one of the CORONARY ARTERIES, usually from CORONARY ATHEROSCLEROSIS.

The sudden collapse and disappearance or diminution of a colony of organisms.

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