Myocardial dysfunction after resuscitation from cardiac arrest: An example of global myocardial stunning

Karl B. Kern, Ronald W. Hilwig, Kyoo H. Rhee, Robert A. Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

322 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study investigated the effect of prolonged cardiac arrest and subsequent cardiopulmonary resuscitation on left ventricular systolic and diastolic function. Background. Cardiac arrest from ventricular fibrillation results in cessation of forward blood flow, including myocardial blood flow. During cardiopulmonary resuscitation, myocardial blood flow remains suboptimal. Once the heart is defibrillated and successful resuscitation achieved, reversible myocardial dysfunction, or 'stunning,' may occur. The magnitude and time course of myocardial stunning from cardiac arrest is unknown. Methods. Twenty-eight domestic swine (26 ± 1 kg) were studied with both invasive and noninvasive measurements of ventricular function before and after 10 or 15 min of untreated cardiac arrest. Contrast left ventriculograms, ventricular pressures, cardiac output, isovolumetric relaxation time (tau) and transthoracic Doppler- echocardiographic studies were obtained. Results. Twenty-three of 28 animals were successfully resuscitated and postresuscitation data obtained. Left ventricular ejection fraction showed a significant reduction 30 min after resuscitation (p < 0.05). Regional wall motion analysis revealed diffuse, global left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Left ventricular end-diastolic pressure increased significantly in the postresuscitation period (p < 0.05). Isovolumetric relaxation time (tau) was significantly increased over baseline by 2 h after resuscitation (p < 0.05). Similar findings were noted with the Doppler-echocardiographic analysis, including a reduction in fractional shortening (p < 0.05), a reduction in mitral valve deceleration time (p < 0.05) and an increase in left ventricular isovolumetric relaxation time at 5 h after resuscitation (p < 0.05). By 24 h, these invasive and noninvasive variables of systolic and diastolic left ventricular function had begun to improve. At 48 h, all measures of left ventricular function had returned to baseline levels. Conclusions. Myocardial systolic and diastolic dysfunction is severe after 10 to 15 min of untreated cardiac arrest and successful resuscitation. Full recovery of this postresuscitation myocardial stunning is seen by 48 h in this experimental model of ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-240
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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