Reperfusion injury in the surgical setting is defined as those metabolic, functional and structural consequences of restoring coronary flow (that is, aortic unclamping and revascularization) that can be avoided or reversed by modification of the conditions of reperfusion by the operating surgeon. The potential for reperfusion damage exists during cardiac surgery because temporary myocardial ischemia (that is, aortic clamping) is needed to produce a quiet, bloodless surgical field. Cold cardioplegic techniques have decreased the risks of ischemic myocardial damage during aortic clamping, but reperfusion damage can still occur when there is poor cardioplegic distribution (that is, coronary artery disease) or in hearts that have suffered ischemic damage before extracorporeal circulation is started (such as extending myocardial infarction, cardiogenic shock and the like). The surgical setting affords the ideal opportunity for reperfusate modification because the components and conditions of the reperfusate are in the surgeon's control. This study reviews present understanding of the nature of reperfusion damage in the surgical setting and summarizes studies over the past 6 years which suggest that much of reperfusion damage can be avoided or reversed by adjusting the temperature, pressure and composition of reperfusate blood.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine