Common Heart Surgery Drug Potentially Dangerous

Protamine, a drug used for more than 40 years immediately after coronary artery bypass surgery to return thinned blood to its normal state, has been shown to have more potential negative side effects than previously appreciated, according to researchers. Although they found that small blood pressure changes that often occur with protamine?s use are associated with increased mortality, they do not advocate any change in the clinical use of the drug. However, they do emphasize that their findings should spur development of alternatives for protamine.

Age, Lower Immunity Put Bypass Patients at Risk for Cognitive Impairment

Older patients with lowered immunity to certain common bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract are more likely than younger patients to suffer cognitive decline after coronary artery bypass surgery, according to a new analysis by Duke University Medical Center researchers.
Within the gut resides a class of bacteria known as gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria can release endotoxins into the bloodstream as a result of action of the heart-lung machine — which circulates the blood throughout the body while surgeons operate on a stopped heart — triggering a cascade of immunological events including systemic inflammation.

Depression related to poor health after bypass surgery

Men who are depressed before their coronary artery bypass graft surgery are more likely to be re-hospitalized or suffer pain and reduced quality of life six months after their bypass operation, compared with men who are not depressed before the surgery, according to new research. Rates of hospitalization for heart attack or artery disease rose among bypass patients with pre-operative depression, say Matthew M. Burg, Ph.D., of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and colleagues.

Peppy video shown to hubby helps female bypass patients

Female coronary bypass surgery patients whose husbands viewed an optimistic informational videotape prior to their surgery experienced fewer complications than did women whose husbands received only the standard hospital preparation. The study evaluated the progress of 226 male and 70 female patients for six months after their first coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Prior to the patients’ discharge from the hospital, the spouses of the patients viewed one of two videotapes — one more optimistic, than the other– informing them of what to expect during the recovery period.