OBJECTIVE: To analyze the pulmonary function changes and pain in patients undergoing off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting utilizing a left internal thoracic artery graft, comparing the pleural drain insertion through the intercostal space and subxyphoid approach. METHODS: Twenty eight patients (mean age 57.4 ± 8.4 years) were divided into two groups, according to the pleural drain site. Group IL (n=15) had the pleural drain inserted through the sixth left intercostal space at the mid-axillary line and in the IM group (n=13) the drain was placed through the subxyphoid region. All the patients underwent pre- and post-operative evaluation of pulmonary function tests as well as arterial blood gas analysis. Forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) were recorded in the preoperative period, and in the first, third and fifth postoperative days. The pain sensation was evaluated using a standard score from 0 to 10. RESULTS: In both groups falls in FVC and FEV1 were noted, up to the fifth postoperative day (P<0.001). However, the decrease was higher in the IL group, when compared to the IM group (p<0.05). Also arterial blood gas analysis showed a decline of the partial oxygen pressure in both groups on the fist postoperative day, but more significantly in the IL group (p=0.021). The pain sensation was higher in the IL group (p=0.002). CONCLUSION: Off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting with using of left internal thoracic artery, disregarding the pleural drain site, leads to a significant decrease of postoperative pulmonary function. However, the subxyphoid technique of drain insertion has shown a better preservation of the lung function when compared to the intercostal drain site.
Coronary artery bypass surgery; Pleural drain; Pulmonary function