This study was designed to determine whether simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia improves myocardial perfusion in areas supplied by occluded vessels.Methods:
Isolated pig hearts placed in a Langendorff preparation were divided into two groups. The left anterior descending coronary artery was occluded at its origin. In group 1 (n = 7), simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia was conducted with use of a single perfusion unit with tubing in a Y-shaped configuration at the end, joined to the aorta and the coronary sinus. In group 2 (n = 8) simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia was performed with two separate units, one for antegrade delivery of cardioplegic solution and the other for retrograde cardioplegic solution delivery. Myocardial perfusion in the region supplied by the left anterior descending artery and the region not supplied by this artery was assessed by magnetic resonance imaging, with use of a magnetic resonance contrast agent. The contrast agent was introduced into the common perfusion line in group 1 and into the aortic line only in group 2.Results:
Magnetic resonance images showed that the myocardium in the region supported by the left anterior descending artery could not be perfused with antegrade cardioplegic solution because of occlusion of the artery. During simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia, however, the myocardium in the left anterior descending region was perfused by approximately 40% to 50% (group 1) or 20% to 30% (group 2) of the degree of perfusion in the region not perfused by the left anterior descending artery (100%). Almost no cardioplegic solution was delivered to the heart through the coronary sinus route during simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia in both groups of hearts. Myocardial perfusion in the region supported by the left anterior descending artery was heterogeneous during simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia.Conclusions:
Simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia significantly improved myocardial perfusion in jeopardized areas of the myocardium. The jeopardized myocardium was mainly perfused by the solution drained from the adjacent normal tissue. Elevated pressure at the coronary sinus during simultaneous antegrade/retrograde cardioplegia is responsible for the redistribution of antegradely delivered cardioplegic solution.