This study compared the incidence of microemboli during cardiac operations using conventional (multidose) and del Nido (single-dose) cardioplegia delivery.
Cerebral microemboli have been associated with neurocognitive deficits after cardiac operations using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Interventions by the perfusionist and alterations in blood flow account for a large proportion of previously unexplained microemboli. This study compared the incidence of microemboli during cardiac operations using conventional (multidose) and del Nido (single-dose) cardioplegia delivery. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was used to detect microemboli in bilateral middle cerebral arteries of 30 adult patients undergoing cardiac operations using CPB and aortic clamping. Multidose conventional blood cardioplegia (CBC) was used in 15 patients and single-dose del Nido cardioplegia (DNC) in 15. Manual count of microemboli during cross-clamp and during administration of cardioplegia was performed. Baseline preoperative characteristics were similar between groups. There were no differences in the ascending aortic atheroma grade (1.4 ± .4 CBC vs. 1.6 ± .7 DNC, p = .44), bypass times (141 ± 36 minutes CBC vs. 151 ± 33 minutes DNC, p = .64), and cross-clamp times (118 ± 32 minutes CBC vs. 119 ± 45 minutes DNC, p = .95). The use of multidose CBC was associated with a seven-fold increase in the number of microemboli per minute of bypass (1.65 ± 1 vs. .24 ± .18 emboli/min DNC, p = .0004). In this prospective pilot study, we found that the use of single-dose cardioplegia strategy led to fewer cerebral microemboli when compared with the traditional multidose approach. Our findings warrant further investigation of various cardioplegia strategies and neurologic outcomes in larger cohorts.
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