Identification of Intraoperative Management Strategies That Have a Differential Effect on Patients With Reduced Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction

A Retrospective Cohort Study

Michael D. Maile; Michael R. Mathis; Elizabeth S. Jewell; Graciela B. Mentz; Milo C. Engoren


BMC Anesthesiol. 2022;22(288) 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Background: There are few data to guide the intraoperative management of patients with reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). This study aimed to describe how patients with reduced LVEF are managed differently and to identify and treatments had a different risk profile in this population.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study of adult patients who underwent general anesthesia for non-cardiac surgery. The effect of anesthesia medications and fluid balance was compared between those with and without a reduced preoperative LVEF. The primary outcome was a composite of acute kidney injury, myocardial injury, pulmonary complications, and 30-day mortality. Multivariable logistic regression was used to adjust for confounders. Treatments that affected patients with reduced LVEF differently were defined as those associated with the primary outcome that also had a significant interaction with LVEF.

Results: A total of 9420 patients were included. Patients with reduced LVEF tended to have a less positive fluid balance. Etomidate, calcium, and phenylephrine were use more frequently, while propofol and remifentanil were used less frequently. Remifentanil affected patients with reduced LVEF differently than those without (interaction term OR 2.71, 95% CI 1.30–5.68, p = 0.008). While the use of remifentanil was associated with fewer complications in patients with normal systolic function (OR 0.54, 95% CI 0.42–0.68, p < 0.001), it was associated with an increase in complications in patients with reduced LVEF (OR = 3.13, 95% CI 3.06–5.98, p = 0.026).

Conclusions: Patients with a reduced preoperative LVEF are treated differently than those with a normal LVEF when undergoing non-cardiac surgery. An association was found between the use of remifentanil and an increase in postoperative adverse events that was unique to this population. Future research is needed to determine if this relationship is secondary to the medication itself or reflects a difference in how remifentanil is used in patients with reduced LVEF.