Electrophysiological Consequences of Hypothermic Hyperkalemic Elective Cardiac Arrest

Neri M. Cohen, Cynthia A. Allen, Michael K. Belz, Todd E. Nixon, Robert M. Wise, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Abstract While the development of pharmacological cardioplegic solutions for myocardial protection during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) have significantly lengthened the safe operating time for cardiac surgical procedures, the introduction of hypothermic hyperkalemic cardioplegia (CPG) has markedly increased the incidence of postoperative arrhythmias and conduction abnormalities. Using a customized modification of a computerized mapping system, we have developed a large animal porcine model of CPB that is exquisitely sensitive to the electrophysiological (EP) derangements imposed by ischemia and cardiac arrest. This model is able to measure spatial and temporal parameters of ventricular activation with high resolution, using an array of up to 84 epicardial electrodes that can be reproducibly placed on the surface of the heart utilizing known epicardial anatomical markers (e.g., coronary arteries). With this system we have measured the spectrum of clinically observed EP disturbances caused by CPG, from slowed intraventricular conduction to complete heart block. Compared to the control group of hypothermia alone, 2 hours of crystalloid CPG arrest had a significant slowing effect on ventricular activation (p < 0.05). CPG was accompanied, in each animal, by profound changes in the spatial distribution of ventricular activation and persistent slowing of ventricular activation. Traditional EP parameters of effective refractory period and pacing threshold were unchanged by CPG. Smaller temporal and spatial changes were observed in the control group, but were always reversed by 90 minutes of warm reperfusion. We conclude that CPG induces injury of the specialized conducting system and, to a lesser degree, the myocardium. This model will afford us the opportunity to test new methods of CPG to further improve myocardial preservation during CPB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of cardiac surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1993


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