The Society of Thoracic Surgeons

View all recommendations from this society

Released February 21, 2013

Prior to cardiac surgery, there is no need for pulmonary function testing in the absence of respiratory symptoms.

  • PFTs can be helpful in determining risk in cardiac surgery, but patients with no pulmonary disease are unlikely to benefit and do not justify testing.
  • Symptoms attributed to cardiac disease that are respiratory in nature should be better characterized with PFTs.

Risk models for cardiac surgery developed from review of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons Adult Cardiac Surgery Database incorporate a variable for chronic lung disease. Only recently have actual FEV1 and DLCO data been collected in the database. In the absence of respiratory symptoms or suggestive medical history, pulmonary function testing is quite unlikely to change patient management or assist in risk assessment. Although some data are beginning to emerge about preoperative pulmonary rehabilitation prior to cardiac surgery for patients with even mild to moderate obstructive disease, this does not directly extrapolate to asymptomatic patients.


These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) list development process was led by the First Vice-President, and involved input from multiple workforces, including the Workforce on Adult Cardiac and Vascular Surgery, Workforce on General Thoracic Surgery, and Workforce on Evidence Based Surgery, and was staffed by STS’ Director of Quality. The initial 17 recommendations from these Workforces were narrowed down to eight based upon frequency, clinical guidelines and potential impact. STS leadership approved these eight recommendations for presentation to members in an online survey. The results of the survey, as well as research and systematic literature review by the Workforce on Evidence Based Surgery, were presented to the STS Executive Committee, which approved the five final recommendations.

Sources

Shahian DM, O’Brien SM, Filardo G, Ferraris VA, Haan CK, Rich JB, Normand SL, DeLong ER, Shewan CM, Dokholyan RS, Peterson ED, Edwards FH, Anderson RP. The society of thoracic surgeons 2008 cardiac surgery risk models: Part 1–coronary artery bypass grafting surgery. Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Jul;88:S2-22.

O’Brien SM, Shahian DM, Filardo G, Ferraris VA, Haan CK, Rich JB, Normand SL, DeLong ER, Shewan CM, Dokholyan RS, Peterson ED, Edwards FH, Anderson RP. The society of thoracic surgeons 2008 cardiac surgery risk models: Part 2–isolated valve surgery. Ann Thorac Surg. 2009 Jul;88:S23-42.

Ried M, Unger P, Puehler T, Haneya A, Schmid C, Diez C. Mild-to-moderate copd as a risk factor for increased 30-day mortality in cardiac surgery. Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2010 Oct;58:387-391.

Adabag AS, Wassif HS, Rice K, Mithani S, Johnson D, Bonawitz-Conlin J, Ward HB, McFalls EO, Kuskowski MA, Kelly RF. Preoperative pulmonary function and mortality after cardiac surgery. Am Heart J. 2010 Apr;159(4):691-697.