Mild Hypercapnia After Uncomplicated Heart Surgery Is Not Associated With Hemodynamic Compromise

Michael S. Avidan, Syed Z. Ali, Heidi Tymkew, Eric Jacobsohn, Charl J. De Wet, Laureen L. Hill, Michael Pasque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the effects of small changes in PaCO2 on hemodynamic parameters after uncomplicated heart surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass. Design: This was a prospective, randomized crossover study. Setting: A large academic medical center. Participants: Twenty-four subjects who were scheduled for elective cardiac surgery were enrolled in this study. Interventions: Each subject underwent the normal procedures that are associated with cardiac surgery. General anesthesia, including muscle relaxation, were continued in the immediate postoperative period. Measured tidal volumes and minute ventilation were kept constant for the duration of the study. Target PaCO2 concentrations of 30, 40, and 50 mmHg were achieved by adding varying amounts of exogenous CO2 gas to the inhaled oxygen. Various measurements were made at each target PaCO2, including cardiac index, mixed venous oxygen saturation, blood pressure, heart rate, and pulmonary artery pressure. Measurements and Main Results: Twenty-four patients were enrolled. Seven were withdrawn before commencement of the study. The cardiac index increased when the PaCO2 was increased from 30 to 40 mmHg (p < 0.001) and remained unchanged between 40 and 50 mmHg. Mixed venous oxygen saturation increased (p < 0.001) with elevations in PaCO2 up to 50 mmHg and decreased again when the PaCO2 was returned to 30 mmHg. The blood pressure decreased (p < 0.001) with increasing PaCO2. The pulmonary pressure increased (p < 0.001) with elevations in PaCO2. No patient became hemodynamically unstable or had any arrhythmias. Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that unless there is a specific contraindication to mild hypercapnia, such as pulmonary hypertension or hemodynamic instability, concerns about mild respiratory acidosis should not prevent weaning of sedation and mechanical ventilation after uncomplicated heart surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-374
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • adults
  • cardiac surgery
  • hypercapnia


Dive into the research topics of 'Mild Hypercapnia After Uncomplicated Heart Surgery Is Not Associated With Hemodynamic Compromise'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this