Intracardiac surgical procedures are best carried out when the heart is still and bloodless. This condition, however, produces myocardial cellular damage with loss of contractility and compliance unless some protection can be provided. Myocardial contractility and compliance is best studied by isovolumic ventricular function tests, which were used to evaluate the protective effect of methylprednisolone on the isolated cross-perfused canine heart made ischaemic for 2 hours. Control experiments included 2 hours of ischaemia without methylprednisolone, and 2 hours of continuous normothermic cross-perfusion. The methylprednisolone-treated hearts had probably significantly better ventricular function after 2 hours of ischaemia than did hearts without the methylprednisolone, while the cross-perfused hearts were best overall. This work suggests that methylprednisolone may have a protective effect on the ischaemic myocardium of the intact canine heart.
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