Improved myocardial preservation during global ischemia by continuous retrograde coronary sinus perfusion

S. F. Bolling, J. T. Flaherty, B. H. Bulkley, Vincent L Gott, T. J. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To investigate whether retrograde continuous low-pressure perfusion of the coronary sinus could deliver cardioplegic solutions with oxygen and substrate beyond stenoses and result in improved myocardial preservation, we subjected 41 canine hearts to 90 minutes of ischemia with an occlusion on the circumflex coronary artery. There were four groups: Group I, antegrade (aortic root) crystalloid cardioplegia every 30 minutes during ischemia; Group II, antegrade plus topical cooling; Group III, continuous retrograde perfusion; Group IV, same as Group III, with an oxygenated perfluorocarbon. All solutions had a PO2 of 400 to 500 mm Hg. Intramyocardial oxygen and carbon dioxide tensions (PO2 and PCO2) and mean myocardial temperatures were monitored during ischemia, and left ventricular (LV) function was assessed before ischemia and after reperfusion. After global ischemia, the circumflex occlusion was released and the hearts reperfused. Following 60 minutes of reperfusion, isovolumic developed pressure returned to 36% ± 4% and 41% ± 5% of preischemic levels, respectively, in Group I and II. By contrast, Groups III and IV (retrograde perfusion) had a significantly greater percent of recovery (78% ± 5% and 73% ± 5%). Circumflex area intramyocardial PO2 fell 20 and 25 mm Hg below preischemic levels in Groups I and II during ischemia, whereas in Group III, intramyocardial PO2 in the circumflex region remained near preischemic levels, and in Group IV, it rose to 19 mm Hg. Mean myocardial temperature during ischemia in the circumflex was significantly higher in Group I than in Groups II, III, and IV. Peak intramyocardial PCO2 in the circumflex region was significantly less in the retrogradely perfused hearts. Retrograde coronary sinus perfusion resulted in significant improvement in recovery of LV function, uniform myocardial cooling, normal intramyocardial PO2, and less intramyocardial PCO2 accumulation, despite the presence of a total circumflex coronary artery occlusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-666
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery

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