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An experimental evaluation of continuous normothermic, intermittent hypothermic, and intermittent normothermic coronary perfusion
  1. A. Hedley Brown1,
  2. M. V. Braimbridge,
  3. Sally Darracott2,
  4. J. Chayen3,
  5. H. Kasap4
  1. Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, St. Thomas' Hospital, London SE1


    Hedley Brown, A., Braimbridge, M. V., Darracott, Sally, Chayen, J., and Kasap, H. (1974).Thorax, 29, 38-50. An experimental evaluation of continuous normothermic, intermittent hypothermic, and intermittent normothermic coronary perfusion. Coronary perfusion and hypothermia both have disadvantages, and excellent clinical results are obtained without them, though short operations, spontaneous cooling of unperfused hearts, hyperglycaemia, heparinization, and young and cyanotic subjects may allow more tolerance of ischaemia. Functional, macroscopic, histological, ultrastructural, chemical, and metabolic evidence of the inadvisability of ischaemia, especially of hypertrophied hearts, abounds, though statistical support and histochemical proof are lacking.

    Isovolumic function tests permit accurate assessment of compliance. Succinic dehydrogenase distribution is the most relevant enzyme assay of myocardial transport; freed phospholipids indicate cellular membrane disorganization. Adenosinetriphosphate response of myosin (myocardial ATP ase) is shown quantitatively by change of birefringence. Ventricular oedema may be detected by changes in weight. These tests were used to compare continuous normothermic, intermittent hypothermic, and intermittent normothermic perfusion over two hours in isolated, cross-perfused canine hearts. Isolated hearts are very sensitive to imperfections of maintenance, but cross-perfusion minimizes perfusion-induced deterioration.

    Normothermic continuously perfused hearts performed significantly better than intermittently perfused hearts, among which cooled hearts functioned better than normothermic hearts after two hours. Succinic dehydrogenase and acid haematein tests showed significant benefit from cooling during intermittent perfusion. The experimental preparation and techniques of assessment proved sensitive enough to demonstrate these differences, though cooling preserved cellular enzymes better than it did function. This work gives histochemical and statistical support to existing evidence that intermittent ischaemia for two hours can be ameliorated by moderate hypothermia but is not as effective for myocardial maintenance as constant perfusion with normal blood.

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    • 1 1 Cardiothoracic Surgical Department, The Wellington Hospital, New Zealand

    • 2 2 The Cardiac Histochemistry Laboratory, St. Thomas' Hospital

    • 3 3 The Mathilda and Terence Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, London W6

    • 4 4 Department of Social Medicine, St. Thomas' Hospital Medical School