Int J Angiol 1996; 5(4): 212-218
DOI: 10.1007/BF02044260
Original Articles

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Continuous warm blood cardioplegia: A randomized prospective clinical comparison

Jack J. Curtis, Weerachai Nawarawong, Joseph T. Walls, Richard A. Schmaltz
  • Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA
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22. April 2011 (online)


Seventy-eight patients undergoing isolated coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) were randomized to receive one of two myocardial preservation techniques. Control patients (C) (n = 38) had myocardial protection by moderate systemic hypothermia, topical cold saline, and myocardial arrest with antegrade dilute blood/cold potassium cardioplegia with subsequent intermittent retrograde solution every 10–15 minutes during the period of aortic cross-clamping. The experimental group (warm blood, WB) (n = 40) had myocardial protection at systemic normothermia, myocardial arrest with antegrade high potassium, and warm blood cardioplegia with subsequent continuous retrograde low potassium warm blood cardioplegia throughout aortic cross-clamping. The two groups were similar preoperatively. After aortic declamping, all WB patients developed a spontaneous rhythm. Only three (7.5%) required intraoperative defibrillation compared with 23 (61%) C patients,p <0.0001. The cross-clamp time per graft was greater with WB,p = 0.003. The postoperative need for inotropes, cardiac pacing, incidence of ventricular dysrhythmia, chest tube drainage, and hospital stay did not differ between groups. Perioperative myocardial infarction occurred in 2 WB and 0 C patients (p = 0.25). Mortality was not different between groups (WB = 1, C = 2,p = 0.89). It is possible to perform CABG with continuous warm blood cardioplegia with low morbidity and mortality. However, no clear advantage was demonstrated over standard techniques that allow the technical ease of a bloodless field. The metabolic and physiologic significance of spontaneous resumption of sinus rhythm upon aortic declamping remains to be elucidated.