Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has a major impact on mortality and morbidity in patients undergoing cardiac surgery. Mortality risk increases by 50% in patients who were re-intubated or required prolonged mechanical ventilation after the operation. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of COPD on the prediction of postoperative complications and outcome including intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stay, postoperative morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing all types of cardiac surgery.We performed a retrospective cohort analysis of prospectively collected data from a tertiary cardiac surgery department of a university hospital between 2014 and 2016. We divided patients undergoing cardiac surgery into 2 sub-groups – the first – with a clinical diagnosis of COPD (n = 198) and the second comprised all other non-COPD patients (n = 2980).Among patients with COPD a longer intubation time (P = .039), longer ICU stay (P < .001) and longer hospitalization time (P = .006) was noted as compared with non-COPD patients. Patients with COPD required reintubation more often than non-COPD patients, reintubation occurring twice, 19 (9.60%) versus 144 (4.83%) P = .002, reintubation occurring 3 or more times, 7 (3.54%) versus 34 (1.14%) P = .006. Mortality within 30 days after surgery was higher in patients with pulmonary problems before surgery (P = .003). Multivariable logistic regression analysis corrected for interfering variables showed an increased risk of postoperative bronchoconstriction (odds ratio [OR] = 4.40, P = .002), respiratory failure (OR = 1.67, P = .018), atrial fibrillation (OR = 1.45, P = .023), and use of hemofiltration (OR = 1.60, P = .029) for patients with COPD.Patients with COPD undergoing all types of cardiac surgery are at increased risk of respiratory complications and mortality. The occurrence of COPD was associated with longer ICU and hospital stay. In COPD patients, undergoing cardiac surgery, treatment strategies aimed at preventing reintubation and early weaning mechanical ventilation must be employed to reduce postoperative complications.