November 10, 1997
Media Contact: Karen Infeld
Phone: (410)955-1534

One in five people who has a stroke associated with heart surgery die before leaving the hospital and only one in four is able to return straight home after hospitalization for their surgery, according to a study by Johns Hopkins physicians. These stroke victims also required hospital stays more than twice as long as other heart surgery patients.

"Stroke associated with cardiac surgery also has serious economic repercussions, in terms of longer hospital stays and higher hospital bills. These findings emphasize the need for further improvements in stroke prevention and management," says Jorge D. Salazar, M.D., lead author of the study and a resident in the Department of Surgery. "When you consider that approximately 80 percent of all heart surgery patients can return home after hospitalization compared to only 24 percent of those who have associated strokes, you see the profound impact of stroke."

Results of the study will be presented at 1:30 p.m., Nov. 10 at the American Heart Association's 70th annual Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Fla.

Researchers assessed the outcomes of 4,798 Hopkins patients who had coronary artery bypass, valve replacement, combined bypass and valve replacement, and combined bypass and another procedure between 1992 and 1996. Average age for the patients was 65.5 years old.

Among these patients, 191 (3.98 percent) suffered strokes; the mortality rate in this group was 20.4 percent. On average, stroke victims stayed in the hospital 16 days, stayed in the intensive care unit for seven days, and had hospital bills of $45,052. This compares to the values for the whole group, who had a mortality rate of 4.4 percent, stayed in the hospital seven days on average, stayed in the intensive care unit for one day, and had hospital bills of $21,858.

The study's other authors were Maura Goldsborough, M.S.N.; John R. Doty, M.D.; Elaine E. Tseng, M.D.; Robert J. Wityk, M.D.; and William A. Baumgartner, M.D.

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