The effects of hypothermia on human left ventricular contractile function during cardiac surgery

Michael Lewis, AH Al-Khalidi, Jonathan Townend, John Coote, Robert Bonser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES We investigated the interaction of heart rate (HR), temperature and contractility using a validated load independent method. BACKGROUND Temperature manipulation is an integral part of cardiac surgery, and postoperative hypothermia is extremely common. Myocardial contraction is a series of enzymatic and physicochemical reactions that may be differentially affected by temperature. METHODS Ten patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting were studied during moderately hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass. After conduit procurement and heparinization but before grafting, the patient was placed on cardiopulmonary bypass and rewarmed to 37 degreesC, and the left ventricle (LV) was instrumented with a conductance catheter allowing continuous pressure and volume measurement. The LV pressure volume relationship was examined to assess the contractility at 37, 35, 33 and 31 degreesC, with fixed atrial pacing (100 beats/min) in five patients and at 80 and 120 beats/min, at 33 and 37 degreesC in five patients. RESULTS At a HR of 100 beats/min, lower temperature resulted in a highly significant decrease in maximal elastance (100% at 37 degreesC, 29 +/- 3.5% at 31 degreesC, p <0.0001). At 37C, increasing HR increased contractility (80 beats/min 100%, 120 beats/min 205.9%, p = 0.0021); however, at 33 degreesC contractility fell with increasing HR (80 beats/min 100%, 120 beats/min, 53.7%, p = 0.0014). CONCLUSION At normothermia LV contractility has a direct relationship with HR. In hypothermic conditions this relationship inverses. Clinical strategies maintaining higher HRs at colder temperatures result in reduced contractility. These factors are important in the management of cardiac surgical patients. (J Am Coll Cardiol 2002;39:102-8) (C) 2002 by the American College of Cardiology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-108
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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