Effect of computed tomography before cardiac surgery on surgical strategy, mortality and stroke

Annemarie M. den Harder*, Linda M. de Heer, Ronald C. A. Meijer, Marco Das, Gabriel P. Krestin, Jos G. Maessen, Ad. J. J. C. Bogers, Pim A. De Jong, Tim Leiner, Ricardo P. J. Budde

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Web of Science)


Aim: To investigate whether preoperative chest computed tomography ( CT) decreases postoperative mortality and stroke rate in cardiac surgery by detection of calcifications and visualization of postoperative anatomy in redo cardiac surgery which can be used to optimize the surgical approach. Methods: The PubMed, EMBASE and Cochrane databases were searched and articles concerning preoperative CT in cardiac surgery were included. Articles not reporting mortality, stroke rate or change in surgical approach were excluded. Studies concerning primary cardiac surgery as well as articles concerning redo cardiac surgery were both included. Results: Eighteen studies were included (n=4057 patients) in which 2584 patients received a preoperative CT. Seven articles (n=1754 patients) concerned primary surgery and eleven articles (n=2303 patients) concerned redo cardiac surgery. None of the studies was randomized but 8 studies provided a comparison to a control group. Stroke rate decreased with 77-96% (primary surgery) and 18-100% (redo surgery) in patients receiving a preoperative CT. Mortality decreased up to 66% in studies investigating primary surgery while the effect on mortality in redo surgery varied widely. Change in surgical approach based on CT-findings consisted of choosing a different cannulation site, opting for off-pump surgery and cancellation of surgery. Conclusions: Current evidence suggests that preoperative CT imaging may lead to decreased stroke and mortality rate in patients undergoing primary cardiac surgery by optimizing surgical approach. In patients undergoing redo cardiac surgery stroke rate is also decreased but the effect on mortality is unclear. However, evidence is weak and included studies were of moderate quality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-750
JournalEuropean Journal of Radiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Cardiac surgery
  • Stroke
  • Aortic calcifications
  • Computed tomography

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