Although many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) require a prolonged length of stay (PLOS) following coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), the impact of PLOS on long-term survival has not been examined in this population.


To determine the association between PLOS and long-term survival among COPD and non-COPD patients after CABG and to examine consequent policy and practice-based implications.


A retrospective cohort study of CABG patients was conducted between 2002 and 2011. Long-term survival was compared in patients with and without COPD and stratified by PLOS. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were computed using a Cox regression model.


A total of 203 patients (4.2%) had PLOS after nonemergent CABG (N = 4801). PLOS was an important independent predictor of decreased long-term survival (no COPD, no PLOS: HR = 1.0; COPD, no PLOS: adjusted HR [95% CI], 1.8 [1.5–2.1]; no COPD, PLOS: 3.3 [2.5–4.4]; COPD, PLOS: 6.0 [4.4–8.2]; PTrend < .001).


COPD and PLOS are 2 of many factors that affect long-term mortality in postoperative CABG patients. Aggressive treatment strategies aimed at early weaning off of mechanical ventilation and prevention of reintubation among COPD patients must be considered carefully as a means to reduce length of stay after CABG. Our results also have important implications for the long-term management of these patients and strategies for containing costs over the life course of the patient.

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