We are investigating the role of the microcirculation in the loss of contractile function of hearts subjected to long-term preservation procedures. Following 24 hours of continuous perfusion at low pressure (13 mmHg) and temperature (5 degree C) with a crystalloid cardioplegic solution, rabbit hearts exhibited a 25% reduction in both left ventricular compliance and contractility. We hypothesize that these alterations of contractile function reflect dysfunction of the microcirculation. Experimental results suggest that by as early as 1-2 hours of preservation, significant areas of ischemia exist. The progressive alterations of contractile function could be a result of the prolonged period of ischemia. To determine whether this apparent 'no-flow' injury is exacerbated or reversed by reperfusion, preserved hearts were reperfused prior to infusion of the ink. Many of the reperfused hearts no longer exhibited large areas of no-flow suggesting that the no-flow phenomenon present during the preservation period is, at least in part, reversible.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering