Electrophysiologic consequences of hyperkalemic cardioplegia during surgical ischemia

Neri M. Cohen, Cynthia A. Allen, Peng Wie Hsia, Todd E. Nixon, Robert M. Wise, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Myocardial protection strategics use cardioplegic solutions to reduce the injury induced by surgical ischemia and reperfusion. However, there is a high incidence of electrophysiotogic abnormalities after cardioplegic arrest. A computerized epicardial mapping system in a porcine cardiopulmonary bypass model was used to measure the electrophysiologic consequences of different myocardial protection techniques. Both warm and cold, crystalloid and blood cardioplegic solutions were compared. The effects of hypothermia and prolonged cardiopulmonary bypass were examined in a control group that underwent a 2-hour period of hypothermia without cardioplegia or aortic cross-clamping, followed by 2 hours of normothermic reperfusion. Isochronous activation maps, unipolar electrograms, ventricular refractory periods, and pacing thresholds were measured before cardioplegic arrest and during reperfusion. Compared with the control group, crystalloid cardioplegia, but not blood cardioplegia, was accompanied by large changes in the pattern of ventricular activation and by persistent (> 2 hours) and significant slowing of the time required for complete ventricular activation. This was not the result of hypoxia. Moreover, the effective refractory period and the pacing threshold were unchanged by any cardioplegia. Our data suggest that crystalloid cardioplegia increases myocardial resistance to current flow leading to a derangement of electrical impulse propagation that may underlie arrhythmogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1076-1083
Number of pages8
JournalThe Annals of thoracic surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1994


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