In this prospective trial the results of preoperative and intraoperative IABP in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) patients with low left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) were compared. Sixty CABG patients with preoperative LVEF < or = 0.30 were enrolled: in group A patients (n=30) IABP was started within 2 hours preoperatively; in group B (n=30) it was instituted intraoperatively before weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass. Cardiac performance was assessed through Swan-Ganz catheter monitoring and daily echocardiography. Hospital survival, length of IABP support, intubation, ICU and hospital stay, need for postoperative inotropic drugs and incidence of myocardial infarction were compared between the two groups. Survival in group A patients proved significantly higher (P=0.047). Cardiac performance after myocardial revascularization improved in both groups with significantly better outcomes in group A patients (P<0.001). Doses of inotropic drugs (dobutamine, enoximone) were lower in group A (P=0.001; P=0.004) and duration shorter (P<0.001; P<0.001). No major IABP-related complication was observed.
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