Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery vol:79 issue:3 pages:413-24
We report observations on ultrastructural and cytochemical changes in the myocardium after hypothermic protection in 21 patients who underwent cardiac operation. Two general categories of hypothermic protection were studied. (1) topical cooling during anoxic arrest and moderate general hypothermia (10 patients with aortic valve replacement, Group 1) and (2) intermittent perfusion during moderate general hypothermia combined with topical cooling (11 patients with multiple valve replacement, Group II). Transmural left ventricular biopsies were taken at the start of the cardiopulmonary bypass and shortly after the end of aortic cross-clamping. In Group I (cross-clamp time, 51 +/- 12 minutes) only minor pathologic changes of the myocardial fine structure were found, with no differences among the left ventricular layers. In most mitochondria, structure remained intact but the mitochondrial granules disappeared. Cytochrome-c-oxidase activity was unchanged. In Group II (total cross-clamp time, 83 +/- 16 minutes) the subendocardium was well preserved. Slight subcellular damage comparable with that of resulting from topical cooling was seen in all hearts even after a total cross-clamp period of 106 minutes. Cytochrome-c-oxidase activity was unchanged. In the subepicardium, however, a positive correlation was found between the severity of ultrastructural damage and total cross-clamp time (p less than 0.05). Matrix clearing, damage to the cristae and the mitochondrial membranes, and nuclear abnormalities occurred when the aorta was cross-clamped for morethan 60 minutes. Cytochrome-c-oxidase activities decreased in these samples. It is concluded that: (1) no significant subcellular injury was found in hearts cooled topically during 1 hour of anoxic arrest; and (2) in hearts protected by intermittent perfusion during moderate general hypothermia and additional external cooling, the subendocardium was well preserved for anoxic periods of up to 106 minutes. However, after 60 minutes of aortic cross-clamping subcellular damage increased progressively in the subepicardium.