The causes of stroke following coronary-artery bypass surgery are largely unknown. To determine whether carotid bruits increase the risk of these events, we compared 54 patients with postoperative stroke or transient ischemic attacks with 54 randomly selected control patients. Both groups were drawn from 5915 consecutive patients who had coronary bypass surgery at our hospital from 1970 to 1984. Carotid bruits were noted preoperatively in 13 patients with postoperative stroke and in 4 control patients. case-control analysis showed that the presence of carotid bruits increased the risk of stroke or transient ischemic attacks by 3.9-fold (95 percent confidence interval, 1.2 to 12.8; P<0.05). This increased risk remained essentially unchanged after adjustment for potentially confounding variables in a multiple logistic regression analysis. Other factors associated with a significantly increased risk (P<0.05) of these neurologic deficits were a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (odds ratio, 6.0; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 22.1), a history of congestive heart failure (odds ratio, 5.3; confidence interval, 1.6 to 17.0), mitral regurgitation (odds ratio, 4.3; confidence interval, 1.4 to 12.9), postoperative atrial fibrillation (odds ratio, 3.0; confidence interval, 1.4 to 6.7), a cardiopulmonary-bypass pump time of more than two hours (odds ratio, 2.7; confidence interval, 1.1 to 6.7), and a previous myocardial infarction (odds ratio, 2.3; confidence interval, 1.1 to 5.1). We conclude that the presence of carotid bruits increases the risk of stroke after coronary-artery bypass surgery. However, the absolute magnitude of this risk, 2.9 percent, is small and comparable to the reported risk of stroke from carotid endarterectomy. (N Engl J Med 1988; 319:1246–50).
ASJC Scopus subject areas