High-dose erythropoietin during cardiac resuscitation lessens postresuscitation myocardial stunning in swine

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We investigated the metabolic and functional myocardial effects of erythropoietin (EPO) administered during resuscitation from cardiac arrest using an open-chest pig model of ventricular fibrillation and resuscitation by extracorporeal circulation, after having reported in rats a reversal of postresuscitation myocardial dysfunction associated with activation of mitochondrial protective pathways. Ventricular fibrillation was induced in 16 male domestic pigs and left untreated for 8 minutes, after which extracorporeal circulation was started and maintained for 10 additional minutes, adjusting the extracorporeal flow to provide a coronary perfusion pressure of 10 mmHg. Defibrillation was accomplished and the extracorporeal flow was adjusted to secure a mean aortic pressure of 40 mmHg or greater during spontaneous circulation for up to 120 minutes. Pigs were randomized 1:1 to receive EPO (1200 U/kg) or 0.9% NaCl before starting extracorporeal circulation. Severe postresuscitation myocardial dysfunction developed in both groups. However, recovery of myocardial function—comparing baseline with 120 minutes postresuscitation—was better in pigs treated with EPO than NaCl, as shown for left ventricular ejection fraction (from 45 ± 8% to 36 ± 9% in EPO, not significant; and from 46 ± 8% to 26 ± 8% in NaCl, P < 0.001) and for peak systolic pressure/end-systolic volume (from 2.7 ± 0.8 mmHg/mL to 2.4 ± 0.7 mmHg/mL in EPO, not significant; and from 3.0 ± 1.1 mmHg/mL to 1.8 ± 0.6 mmHg/mL, P < 0.001 in NaCl). The EPO effect was associated with significantly higher myocardial O2 consumption (12 ± 6 mL/min/unit of tissue vs 6 ± 2 mL/min/unit of tissue, P < 0.017) without effects on myocardial lactate consumption. Thus, EPO administered during resuscitation from ventricular fibrillation lessened postresuscitation myocardial stunning—an effect that could be useful clinically to help promote postresuscitation hemodynamic stability.

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