Hypothermic circulatory arrest as a surgical adjunct: A 5-year experience with 60 adult patients

Elizabeth A. Davis, A. Marc Gillinov, Duke E. Cameron, Bruce A. Reitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


As a surgical adjunct, the technique of hypothermic circulatory arrest (HCA) is well established in pediatric cardiac surgery but is used less frequently in adults. This study was undertaken to review the application, utility, and safety of HCA in adult surgery at a single institution. Between January 1985 and October 1990, 60 adult patients (>18 years old) underwent surgical procedures that included HCA. There were 30 men and 30 women; mean patient age was 56.4 years (range, 20 to 81 years). Operative procedures were thoracic aortic aneurysm repair (35 patients, 58%), resection of intraabdominal malignancy (15 patients, 25%), coronary artery bypass (4 patients, 7%), and other miscellaneous procedures (6 patients, 10%). Eighty-two percent of the procedures were elective, whereas 18% were emergencies. Mean circulatory arrest time was 28.5 minutes (range, 2 to 64 minutes). Operative mortality was 15%; by multivariate analysis, risk factors for death included prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass time (p < 0.05), higher post-HCA rectal temperature (p < 0.05), and intraoperative hypotension (p < 0.001). Patient age, sex, emergency status, duration of HCA, and perfusion variables on cardiopulmonary bypass did not predict operative mortality. The incidence of perioperative neurologic injury was 15%. The only risk factor for neurologic injury was intraoperative hypotension (p < 0.05). One- and 3-year actuarial survival for patients undergoing operation on the heart or great vessels was 75.9% and 70%, respectively, whtreas patients with intraabdominal malignancy had 75% and 23.4% 1- and 3-year survival. This review suggests that HCA can play an important supportive role in the management of selected complex surgical problems, but its safe practice depends on achieving deep hypothermia and maintaining stable perioperative hemodynamics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)402-407
Number of pages6
JournalThe Annals of thoracic surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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