Cardiac protection by volatile anaesthetics: a multicentre randomized controlled study in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting with cardiopulmonary bypass

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Background and objectives:

To evaluate the effects of total intravenous anaesthesia vs. volatile anaesthesia on cardiac troponin release in coronary artery bypass grafting with cardiopulmonary bypass, we performed a multicentre randomized controlled study to compare postoperative cardiac troponin release in patients receiving two different anaesthesia plans.


We randomly assigned 75 patients to propofol (intravenous anaesthetic) and 75 patients to desflurane (volatile anaesthetic) in addition to an opiate-based anaesthesia for coronary artery bypass grafting. Peak postoperative troponin I release was measured as a marker of myocardial necrosis.


There was a significant (P < 0.001) difference in the postoperative median (25th-75th percentiles) peak of troponin I in patients receiving propofol 5,5 (2,3-9,5) ng dL−1 when compared to patients receiving desflurane 2,5 (1,1-5,3) ng dL−1. The median (interquartile) troponin I area under the curve analysis confirmed the results: 68 (30.5-104.8) vs. 36.3 (17.9-86.6) h ng dL−1 (P = 0.002). Patients receiving volatile anaesthetics had reduced need for postoperative inotropic support (24/75, 32.0% vs. 31/75, 41.3%, P = 0.04), and tends toward a reduction in number of Q-wave myocardial infarction, time on mechanical ventilation, intensive care unit and overall hospital stay.


Myocardial damage measured by cardiac troponin release could be reduced by volatile anaesthetics in coronary artery bypass surgery.

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