Sustained postoperative anaemia is associated with an impaired outcome after coronary artery bypass graft surgery: insights from the IMAGINE trial

B. Daan Westenbrink*, Lennaert Kleijn, Rudolf A. de Boer, Jan G. Tijssen, Wayne J. Warnica, Richard Baillot, Jean L. Rouleau, Wiek H. van Gilst, IMAGINE Investigators

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To investigate the association between sustained postoperative anaemia and outcome after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery.

Design Retrospective analysis of the IMAGINE trial, which tested the effect of the ACE inhibitor quinapril on cardiovascular events after CABG.

Setting Thoracic surgery clinic/outpatient department.

Patients 2553 stable patients with left ventricular ejection fraction >40% 2-7 days after scheduled CABG.

Interventions Randomisation to quinapril or placebo.

Main outcome measures Cox regression analysis for the association between postoperative anaemia and cardiovascular events and the effect of quinapril on the incidence of anaemia.

Results Postoperative anaemia was sustained for >50 days in 44% of patients. Sustained postoperative anaemia was associated with an increased incidence of cardiovascular events during the first 3 months (adjusted HR (adjHR) 1.77, 95% CI 1.10 to 2.85, p=0.012) and during the maximum follow-up of 43 months (adjHR 1.37, 95% CI 1.14 to 1.65, p=0.008). When haemoglobin (Hb) was considered as a continuous variable, every 1 mg/dl decrease in Hb was associated with a 13% increase in cardiovascular events (adjHR 0.87, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.95, p=0.003) and a 22% increase in all-cause mortality (adjHR 0.78, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.99, p=0.034). Quinapril was associated with a slower postoperative recovery of Hb levels and a higher incidence of cardiovascular events in patients with anaemia (adjHR 1.60, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.4, p=0.024).

Conclusions Postoperative anaemia is common, frequently persists for months after CABG surgery and is associated with an impaired outcome. In patients with anaemia, ACE inhibitors slowed recovery from postoperative anaemia and increased the incidence of cardiovascular events after CABG.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1590-1596
Number of pages7
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct-2011



Cite this