Basics of cardiopulmonary bypass: Normal and abnormal postoperative ct appearances

Ahmed H. El-Sherief, Carol C. Wu, Paul Schoenhagen, Brent P. Little, Allen Cheng, Suhny Abbara, Eric E. Roselli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Cardiothoracic surgical procedures with and without cardiopulmonary bypass are becoming more commonly performed as surgical techniques improve and the population ages. Changes related to cardiopulmonary bypass are often depicted at routine postoperative computed tomographic (CT) studies performed for various reasons. The purpose of this article is to present knowledge critical to the accurate postoperative evaluation of the patient who has undergone cardiopulmonary bypass. This article will review the surgical technique for cardiopulmonary bypass, as well as the associated normal and abnormal postoperative imaging fndings. Common cannulation sites used for cardiopulmonary bypass include the ascending aorta, axillary artery, right atrium, superior vena cava, and inferior vena cava. Normal postoperative fndings related to cardiopulmonary bypass include (a) felt pledgets, which are used to reinforce cannulation sites; (b) oversewn side grafts; and (c) oversewn graft side branches. These normal postoperative fndings can be mistaken for abnormalities. Abnormal postoperative fndings related to cardiopulmonary bypass include pseudoaneurysm formation at cannulation sites, aortic dissection, and seroma formation. An awareness of normal and abnormal postoperative CT fndings related to cardiopulmonary bypass is critical for all radiologists who interpret chest CT studies, to help prevent unnecessary further evaluation and to help direct prompt treatment when warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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