Potassium-induced cardioplegia during normothermic cardiac arrest. Morphologic study of the effect of varying concentrations of potassium on myocardial anoxic injury.

F. Gharagozloo, B. H. Bulkley, G. M. Hutchins, T. J. Bixler, Hartzell V Schaff, J. T. Flaherty, T. J. Gardner

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11 Scopus citations


Most corrective procedures as well as myocardial revascularization require a period of cardiac arrest, and numerous methods have been proposed to protect the myocardium during this ischemic episode. Potassium-induced cardioplegia is one method that appears to be of benefit in this setting. Since it is recognized that myocardial necrosis may result at very high doses of potassium, we examined the effect of varying concentrations of potassium on myocardial anoxic injury. Using an isolated rat heart preparation, we evaluated anoxic injury occurring with cardioplegic solutions containing various concentrations of K+, ranging from 15 to 200 mEq. per liter, during a 50 minute normothermic arrest followed by 60 minutes of reperfusion. The transverse histologic sections of the left ventricular myocardium were analyzed for contraction band injury by morphometric and qualitative methods. Among the 62 animals studied the least severe anoxic injury was seen with K+ cardioplegia at concentrations of 25 and 30 mEq. per liter. At lower and higher concentrations there was little difference between the hearts exposed to anoxia with or without K+ cardioplegia. Potassium administered in very high doses, i.e., 100 or 200 mEq. of K+ per liter, led to contracture and extensive myocardial cell injury. This study suggests that potassium-induced cardioplegia is effective in reducing cell injury due to anoxia, and in this model an optimal concentration range was 25 to 30 mEq. per liter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-607
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1979
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery

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