Fifty patients underwent an objective measurement of physical working capacity by means of a multistage test of maximally tolerated exertion before and after coronary bypass surgery; 29 patients also had haemodynamic measurements during maximal exercise before and after coronary bypass surgery. The patients were divided into 3 groups according to the degree of revascularisation: adequate (n = 20), partial (n = 17), or none (n = 13). Adequate revascularisation induces a large increase in physical working capacity because of an increased maximal heart rate and maximal cardiac output; stroke volume during maximal exercise and ejection fraction at rest were not modified, suggesting no major changes in left ventricular function. After unsuccessful coronary bypass surgery, the physical working capacity was unchanged despite an increased maximal heart rate; maximal cardiac output was unchanged and stroke volume during maximal exercise was significantly lower. These undesirable results are often associated with perioperative myocardial infarction and are attended by a decreased ejection fraction at rest; these data suggest an impaired left ventricular function after unsuccessful coronary bypass surgery. The results of partial revascularisation are intermediate but appear to be determined by the incidence of partial graft failure which is also often associated with perioperative myocardial infarction. From individual changes in data collected during maximal exercise testing, it is often impossible to predict the degree of revascularisation.
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