Postoperative blood urea nitrogen is associated with stroke in cardiac surgical patients

Martinson K. Arnan, Tyken C. Hsieh, Joseph Yeboah, Alain G. Bertoni, Gregory L. Burke, Zainab Bahrainwala, Maura A. Grega, William A. Baumgartner, Rebecca F. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background This case-control study identified perioperative risk factors associated with postoperative stroke risk after all cardiac surgical procedures. Methods Among 5498 adults 18 to 90 years old who underwent cardiac surgical procedures from 2005 to 2010, we identified 180 patients who suffered a stroke within 10 days postoperatively. Controls were randomly selected and frequency matched for sex and age-band to cases. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to ascertain risk factors for postoperative stroke. Results Emergency surgical procedures (odds ratio [OR], 3.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.80 to 5.10), current smoking (OR, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.29 to 3.00), peripheral vascular disease (OR, 2.80; 95% CI, 1.41 to 5.53), and previous stroke with residual paralysis (OR, 4.27; 95% CI,1.18 to 15.38) were associated with increased stroke risk. Preoperative blood pressures were higher in patients with cases than in controls (p < 0.0001). Log of immediate postoperative blood urea nitrogen (BUN) was higher in patients with cases than in controls (p < 0.0001). In adjusted multivariable logistic regression, postoperative BUN was associated with increased odds of stroke (OR, 2.37 per 25% increase in BUN, p < 0.0001). Postoperative stroke risk was also predicted by emergency surgical procedures (OR, 2.70, p = 0.014), current smoking (OR, 2.82, p = 0.002), and preoperative diastolic blood pressure (DBP) (OR, 1.77 for every 10-point increase in DBP, p < 0.0001). Receiver operator characteristic curves indicated that postoperative BUN (area under the curve, 0.855) largely explained the increased postoperative stroke risk. Conclusions In these analyses, we identified BUN as a marker of heightened postoperative stroke risk after cardiac surgical procedures. Postoperative risk markers may improve assessment of delayed postoperative strokes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1314-1320
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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