Thorac cardiovasc Surg
DOI: 10.1055/s-0036-1572511
Original Cardiovascular
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Prevalence, Diagnosis, Perioperative Monitoring and Treatment of Right Ventricular Dysfunction and/or Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension in Cardiac Surgical Patients in Germany—A Postal Survey

Matthias Heringlake1, Julika Schön1, Teresa Pliet1, Nils Haake2, Alexander Reinecke2, Marit Habicher3, Michael Sander3, Andreas Markewitz4, Daniel A. Reuter5, Heinrich Volker Groesdonk6, Georg Trummer7, Kevin Pilarzyk8, Michael von der Brelie2, Berthold Bein9, Uwe Schirmer10
  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany
  • 2Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany
  • 3Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Charité University Hospital, Charité Campus Mitte and Virchow Klinikum, Berlin, Germany
  • 4Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, German Armed Forces Central Hospital, Koblenz, Germany
  • 5Department of Anesthesiology, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany
  • 6Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Saarland University Medical Center, Homburg/Saar, Germany
  • 7Department of Cardiovascular and Vascular Surgery, Heart Center University Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • 8Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany
  • 9Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, St. Georg Hospital, Hamburg, Germany
  • 10Department of Anesthesiology, Heart and Diabetic Center NRW, Ruhr University of Bochum, Bad Oeynhausen, Germany
Further Information

Publication History

01 November 2015

12 January 2016

Publication Date:
24 February 2016 (eFirst)


Background Sparse data are available on the prevalence of right ventricular dysfunction and/or pulmonary arterial hypertension in patients scheduled for cardiac surgery in Germany as well as on the intensity and modalities used for diagnosis, perioperative monitoring, and treatment of these comorbidities.

Methods A postal survey including questions on the prevalence of preoperative right ventricular dysfunction and/or pulmonary arterial hypertension in patients undergoing cardiac surgery in 2009 was sent to 81 German heart centers. Total 47 of 81 (58%) heart centers returned the questionnaires. The centers reported data on 51,095 patients, and 49.8% of the procedures were isolated coronary artery bypass grafting.

Results Data on the prevalence of preoperative pulmonary hypertension and/or right ventricular dysfunction were not available in 54% and 64.6% of centers. In the remaining hospitals, 19.5% of patients presented right heart dysfunction and 10% pulmonary arterial hypertension. Preoperative echocardiography was performed in only 45.3% of the coronary artery bypass grafting cases. Preoperative pharmacologic treatment of pulmonary hypertension or right ventricular dysfunction with oral sildenafil, inhaled prostanoids, or nitric oxide was initiated in 71% and 95.7% of the centers, respectively. Intra- and postoperative treatment was most frequently accomplished with phosphodiesterase-III inhibitors.

Conclusion The prevalence of preoperative right heart dysfunction and pulmonary arterial hypertension in cardiac surgical patients in Germany seems to be substantial. However, in more than 50% of the patients, no preoperative data on right ventricular function and pulmonary arterial pressure are available. This may lead to underestimation of perioperative risk and inappropriate management of this high-risk population.


This abstract was presented at the annual meeting of the European Association of Cardiothoracic Anesthetists (EACTA) in Barcelona, Spain on June 7th, 2013.