Myocardial microcirculatory dysfunction after prolonged ventricular fibrillation and resuscitation.

Karl B. Kern, Mathias Zuercher, David Cragun, Suntharo Ly, Joseph Quash, Sanjay Bhartia, Ronald W. Hilwig, Robert A. Berg, Gordon A. Ewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The etiology of postresuscitation myocardial stunning is unknown but is thought to be related to either ischemia occurring during cardiac arrest and resuscitation efforts and/or reperfusion injury after restoration of circulation. A potential common pathway for postischemia/reperfusion end-organ dysfunction is microvascular injury. We hypothesized that myocardial microcirculatory function is markedly abnormal in the postresuscitation period. DESIGN: In vivo study of myocardial microvascular function. SETTING: University animal laboratory. SUBJECTS: Five swine (25 +/- 2 kg). INTERVENTIONS: Measurements before and after cardiac arrest and resuscitation. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Baseline data were not different among the five subjects. Left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly lower at all postresuscitation time periods (p < .05), reaching a nadir of 19% at 1 hr postresuscitation. Cardiac output declined following fibrillation and resuscitation and was significantly lower than baseline at 1 and 4 hrs postresuscitation (p < .05). Prearrest coronary flow reserve, a ratio of normal to maximal intracoronary flow velocity, was 3.4 ("normal" ratio is 2:4), but was below normal (<2) throughout the 4-hr post resuscitation period (p < .05). CONCLUSION: This in vivo study showed that normal myocardial microcirculatory function is quickly lost after prolonged ventricular fibrillation and resuscitation. As early as 30 min postresuscitation the myocardial microcirculatory function is less than 50% of its prearrest baseline level. This dysfunction persists for at least 4 hrs. During the postresuscitation period, both left ventricular ejection fraction and cardiac output decline from their prearrest levels. No cause and effect relationship was proven, but a parallel decline in left ventricular function and coronary flow reserve is evident.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S418-421
JournalCritical care medicine
Issue number11 Suppl
StatePublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Myocardial microcirculatory dysfunction after prolonged ventricular fibrillation and resuscitation.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this