High Thoracic Epidural Anesthesia in Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: A Propensity-Matched Study

Luca Salvi, Alessandro Parolari, Fabrizio Veglia, Claudio Brambillasca, Sebastiana Gregu, Erminio Sisillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To assess if 2 different anesthesia strategies, high-thoracic epidural anesthesia (HTEA) plus inhalation anesthesia and total intravenous anesthesia (TIVA) with sufentanil/propofol had different influence on outcomes of coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery patients. Design: Retrospective comparison of outcomes between HTEA and TIVA patients using propensity score pair-wise matching of patients. Setting: A university teaching hospital. Participants: A study of 1,473 consecutive patients undergoing elective CABG surgery; of these, 476 (32%) received HTEA combined with inhalation anesthesia, whereas 997 (68%) underwent TIVA alone. Interventions: The patients undergoing CABG surgery were offered the epidural-inhalation anesthetic approach. Measurements and Main Results: Propensity matching yielded 389 pairs of patients. Patients were well matched in preoperative and operative features. Postoperative mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke, acute renal failure rates, and intensive care unit (ICU) stay were not statistically different in HTEA and TIVA groups. On the other hand, patients treated with HTEA had shorter ventilation times (5.8 ± 3.11 v 6.9 ± 5.0 hours, HTEA and TIVA, respectively, p <0.001); in addition, vasoconstrictors were more frequently used in cases of HTEA, whereas vasodilators were mainly used with TIVA both intra- and postoperatively. No neurologic complications related to the use of HTEA were observed. Conclusions: HTEA and TIVA provided similar early outcomes after CABG surgery, and there were no major differences between these 2 strategies in the average risk CABG patient populations. Although HTEA did not cause neurologic problems and yielded a significant reduction in time to extubation, a consistent benefit over standard techniques could not be shown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)810-815
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


  • anesthesia
  • anesthetics
  • coronary artery bypass
  • epidural
  • inhalation
  • outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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