In his 2005 paper “Intraoperative Bypass Flow Measurement Reduces the Incidence of Postoperative Ventricular Fibrillation and Myocardial Markers after Coronary Revascularization,” Dr. Stefan Bauer from the Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Heart Institute, Lahr/Baden, Germany, presents definitive data that demonstrate that intraoperative flow measurements for graft assessment during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) reduces ventricular fibrillation and postoperative complications.
In his study, the incidence of postoperative ventricular fibrillation and myocardial infarction were compared in two large groups of patients. One group of 3,421 surgeries used transit-time flow measurements to assess the quality of the coronary bypass grafts. The other group of 4,321 surgeries were performed before transit-time flow measurement technology had become available at the institution. The group in which flow was measured experienced 0.44% post-op fibrillation compared to the group with 0.66% fibrillation in which flow was not measured. Subsequent mortality was 30% for the group without measurement versus 12.2% for the group of patients with measurement. For the group that had flow measurement, the rate of insufficient bypass flow detected by angiography was reduced by 66%.
The surgeons concluded that routine use of intraoperative transit-time flow measurements reduces the incidence of postoperative anastomosis and related technical complications of bypass surgery and leads to a significant reduction of post-operative mortality in CABG.