Neurological complications of heart surgery

August 13, 2009
Neurological complications of heart surgery
This is neurologist Dr. Jose Biller of Loyola University Health System. Credit: NA

Possible neurological complications of heart surgery, ranging from headaches to strokes, are detailed in a new report in the online journal MedLink Neurology.

The review article, which compiled results of previously published studies, was written by Dr. Betsy Love, Dr. Sara Hocker and senior author Dr. Jose Biller of Loyola University Chicago's Stritch School of Medicine.

In the most comprehensive and up-to-date review of its kind, researchers list possible nervous system complications of bypass surgeries, aortic , cardiac catheterizations, valve replacements, heart transplants and surgeries for and heart tumors.

For example, possible complications from bypass surgery include vision problems, paralysis, hoarseness, movement disorders and disturbances in learning, memory, attention, concentration and mental agility. Depending on the the patient's age, the operating techniques used and other factors, the risk of stroke ranges from just under 1 percent to as high as 5 percent, according to studies cited in the article.

"Neurologic complications of cardiac procedures can involve literally any part of the central and peripheral nervous systems," researchers wrote.

In 2006, 1.3 million angioplasties and 448,000 bypass surgeries were performed in the United States, according to the American Heart Association. Thousands of other patients underwent surgeries for other cardiac conditions.

Biller said that in cardiac surgery, there's always a risk of neurologic complications, especially in older patients who have other health problems. Biller is chairman of the neurology department at Loyola's Stritch School of Medicine.

However, Biller said patients should not be afraid to undergo cardiac procedures. Many complications are rare. And despite the risks, cardiac surgeries generally "are highly beneficial and life saving," he said.

The article is an updated and fully revised version of a review article published in MedLink Neurology in June, 2008. The original article was written by Biller, Love and Dr. James Fleck of Indiana University School of Medicine.

The revised article includes a new section on aortic surgeries, such as aortic valve replacements. Complications of aortic surgery include stroke, paraplegia and peripheral nerve dysfunction. The new article also includes new sections on surgery to remove atrial myxomas (heart tumors) and surgery to close a hole in the heart called a patent foramen ovale.

Source: Loyola University Health System (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Research revises our knowledge of how the brain learns to fear

October 23, 2017
Our brains wire themselves up during development according to a series of remarkable genetic programs that have evolved over millions of years. But so much of our behavior is the product of things we learn only after we emerge ...

High-speed locomotion neurons found in the brainstem

October 23, 2017
Think of taking a casual stroll on a sunny Sunday afternoon or running at full speed to catch a bus for work on Monday morning as two extremes. Both forms of locomotion entail a perfect interplay between arms and legs, yet ...

Scientists use supercomputer to search for "memory molecules"

October 23, 2017
Until now, searching for genes related to memory capacity has been comparable to seeking out the proverbial "needle in a haystack." Scientists at the University of Basel made use of the CSCS supercomputer Piz Daint to discover ...

Researchers create tool to measure, control protein aggregation

October 22, 2017
A common thread ties seemingly unlinked disorders like Alzheimer's disease and type II diabetes together. This thread is known as protein aggregation and happens when proteins clump together. These complexes are a hallmark ...

'Selfish brain' wins out when competing with muscle power, study finds

October 20, 2017
Human brains are expensive - metabolically speaking. It takes lot of energy to run our sophisticated grey matter, and that comes at an evolutionary cost.

Want to control your dreams? Here's how

October 19, 2017
New research at the University of Adelaide has found that a specific combination of techniques will increase people's chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they're dreaming while it's still happening ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.