Acute normovolaemic haemodilution does not aggravate gastric mucosal acidosis during cardiac surgery

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Acute normovolaemic haemodilution with subsequent autologous blood transfusion after surgery is widely used to reduce homologous blood requirements during cardiac surgery. The hypothesis tested was whether a low intraoperative haematocrit (Hct) resulting from haemodilution decreases gastric mucosal pH (pHi).


Prospective clinical investigation.


University Hospital of Vienna, Austria.


16 consecutive patients scheduled for elective cardiac surgery.


The patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups: In 10 patients (group 1), 500 ml of blood was withdrawn and stored after anaesthesia induction. An equal amount of 6 % hydroxyethyl starch was simultaneously infused. After discontinuation of cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), the autologous blood unit was transfused. Six patients (group 2), who were not subjected to haemodilution and autologous blood transfusion served as controls. In all patients, a gastric tonometry probe was inserted.

Measurements and results

Measurements of pHi and Hct were performed before and after acute normovolaemic haemodilution, during pulsatile hypothermic (30–32 °C) CPB, after rewarming, and 30 min after autologous blood transfusion in group 1, and at corresponding time intervals in group 2. Repeated measures analysis of variance and the Mann-Whitney U test were used for statistical analysis. Data are presented as means ± standard error of the mean. Haemodilution in group 1 caused a significant and persistent decrease in Hct (after haemodilution in group 1 34 ± 1 vs 40 ± 1 % in group 2). In both groups, pHi decreased during rewarming and after termination of CPB. However, in group 1, pHi was better preserved than in group 2 (rewarming: 7.44 ± 0.02 vs 7.34 ± 0.04; after CPB: 7.38 ± 0.03 vs 7.28 ± 0.02; p < 0.05).


Acute normovolaemic haemodilution does not aggravate gastric mucosal acidosis during cardiac surgery.

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