Effects of Isoflurane and Halothane on Coronary Vascular Resistance and Collateral Myocardial Blood Flow: Their Capacity to Induce Coronary Steal

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Some coronary vasodilators, paradoxically, may endanger patients with coronary artery disease by causing “coronary steal.” To determine the capacity of isoflurane and halothane to cause coronary steal, the authors studied their effects on coronary vascular resistance (CVR), diastolic coronary artery pressure, and collateral myocardial blood flow. Using ameroid constrictors, chronic occlusions of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery were created in ten dogs. Six to eight weeks after implantation, the dogs were anesthetized with fentanyl and pentobarbital, and a stenosis was created on the circumflex (Cx) coronary artery. Isoflurane and halothane were each administered in doses of 0.5 and 1.5 MAC. Diastolic aortic pressure was held constant. Using small catheters in the circumflex and LAD coronary arteries, the authors measured diastolic coronary artery pressures. Collateral myocardial blood flow was measured by the microsphere method. In this model, halothane and isoflurane minimally affect CVR. The maximum change in CVR, which was found during 1.5 MAC isoflurane, was −8% (not significant). Diastolic coronary pressures distal to the Cx stenosis (54.5 ± 11.5 mmHg) and distal to the LAD occlusion (44.5 ± 5.2 mmHg) did not change significantly with either isoflurane or halothane. Transmural collateral blood flow distal to the LAD occlusion (0.51 ± 0.11 cc.g−1.min−1) was unaltered by either drug. There was no evidence of coronary steal. Epicardial ECG S-T segments showed no evidence of ischemia. The finding of minimal direct effects of halothane and isoflurane on CVR, diastolic coronary pressure, and collateral myocardial blood flow suggest that, under the conditions of this study, neither agent, when used as an adjuvant to high-dose narcotic anesthesia, is likely to cause myocardial ischemia by a coronary “steal” mechanism.

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