Retrograde cerebral perfusion provides limited distribution of blood to the brain: A study in pigs

J. Ye, L. Yang, M. R. Del Bigio, R. Summers, D. Jackson, R. L. Somorjai, T. A. Salerno, R. Deslauriers

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41 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to investigate flow distribution during retrograde and antegrade cerebral perfusion with India ink as a marker. Methods: Ten pigs received cerebral perfusion with a solution containing 50% filtered India ink for 5 minutes either antegradely through both internal carotid arteries at a flow of 180 to 200 ml/min (n = 5) or retrogradely via the superior vena cava at a flow of 300 to 500 ml/min (n = 5). The brains were then fixed for quantitative measurement of the density of ink-filled capillaries (reported as a percentage of the total selected area). The assessment was done with the use of an in-house software program. Results: In the antegrade cerebral perfusion group, the intracranial arterial and venous systems were completely filled with ink. The gray matter was colored uniformly black, and light coloring was observed in the white matter. During retrograde cerebral perfusion, the majority of ink was returned to the inferior vena cava, and only a small amount of ink was found in the innominate artery draining from the brain. Massive ink filling was observed in the sagittal sinus and other venous sinuses in all the pigs. Vessels on the surface of the brain and large vessels in the brain were also well filled with ink. However, only 10% of capillaries were filled with ink during retrograde cerebral perfusion relative to the number observed with antegrade cerebral perfusion. Conclusions: Retrograde cerebral perfusion supplies a limited amount of blood to brain tissue, which flows mainly through superficial and large deep cerebral vessels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)660-665
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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