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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1999 Jul;118(1):181-8. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5223(99)70157-1.

Effects of postischemic left ventricular pressure-volume unloading on contractile recovery and myocardial blood flow in the regionally stunned canine heart.

The Journal of thoracic and cardiovascular surgery

A C Nicolosi, J G Markley, G N Olinger


  1. Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI, USA.

PMID: 10384201 DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5223(99)70157-1


OBJECTIVE: Myocardial stunning remains a clinical problem without definitive therapy. This study tested the hypothesis that mechanical therapy with a ventricular assist device would accelerate recovery of contractility in stunned myocardium by increasing the postischemic myocardial blood flow.

METHODS: Regional stunning was induced in dogs (25 kg) by 15 minutes of coronary occlusion and 180 minutes of reperfusion. One group (ventricular assist device; n = 10) was reperfused in conjunction with left ventricular unloading with a centrifugal-pump ventricular assist device. A second group (control; n = 8) underwent unmodified reperfusion. Hemodynamic and regional function data were acquired in all dogs with the heart in the working state before and during ischemia and after 180 minutes of reperfusion. Regional myocardial blood flow was measured at these same intervals and after 30 minutes of reperfusion, at which time the left ventricle was mechanically unloaded in animals with a ventricular assist device.

RESULTS: Regional stunning was observed in all animals, but cardiogenic shock developed in none of them. After 180 minutes of reperfusion, animals with a ventricular assist device had greater systolic shortening in the risk segment than did control animals (11.5% +/- 2.8% vs 1.1% +/- 1.3%; P <.05) and had no differences in either the slope or x-axis intercept of regional preload recruitable stroke work relations compared with preischemic values. Differences in contractile recovery did not correlate, however, with postischemic myocardial blood flow. Hyperperfusion mediated by the ventricular assist device was not observed in either stunned or remote segments.

CONCLUSIONS: Mechanical left ventricular unloading attenuates regional myocardial stunning within 3 hours in normotensive dogs, independent of effects on myocardial blood flow. The mechanism underlying this effect remains undefined, but these data support expanded use of mechanical therapy for stunned myocardium in clinical settings.

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