Role of myocardial temperature measurement in monitoring the adequacy of myocardial protection during cardiac surgery

Joseph A. Dearani, Trevor C. Axford, Manisha A. Patel, Nancy A. Healey, Philip T. Lavin, Shukri F. Khuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Inadequate myocardial protection continues to be encountered despite improved methods of cardioplegia delivery. Although myocardial temperature is commonly monitored to assess the adequacy of cardioplegia delivery, its relationship to the metabolic status of the myocardium has not been investigated. We prospectively reviewed patients who underwent valvular heart surgery with blood (n = 47) or crystalloid (n = 48) cardioplegia and continuous measurement of intraoperative myocardial tissue pH and temperature. We previously demonstrated a high correlation (r = 0.99) between extracellular myocardial pH, levels of intracellular hydrogen ion concentration, and a lowering of tissue ATP during coronary occlusion. Clinically, optimal metabolic protection was defined as the absence of myocardial tissue acidosis during the period of aortic occlusion as quantified by a temperature-corrected integrated mean pH of 6.8 or greater, which has been shown to be predictive of a favorable postoperative outcome. Age, bypass time, myocardial temperature, myocardial tissue pH at the onset of aortic occlusion, cross-clamp time, and volume of cardioplegia were not significantly different between blood and crystalloid groups. Linear regression analysis demonstrated no significant correlation between mean myocardial tissue pH and the corresponding mean myocardial temperature in either group during aortic occlusion. There was also no correlation between the mean myocardial tissue pH and volume of cardioplegia delivered in both groups. These data demonstrate wide intercardiac and intracardiac variability in the degree of regional tissue acidosis encountered during of hypothermic cardioplegia. Cardioplegia delivery guided by measurement of myocardial temperature or by standardized protocol did not prevent the occurrence of tissue acidosis and thus, did not ensure optimal metabolic protection of the heart. In 95 patients undergoing valvular heart surgery with cold blood or crystalloid cardioplegia, there was no correlation between myocardial tissue pH and mycardial temperature or between myocardial tissue pH and volume of cardioplegia administered. Temperature is a poor indicator of the metabolic state of the myocardium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S2235-S2243
JournalAnnals of Thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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