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Cardiac Function and Hypercarbia

Jens Peter Rasmussen, MD; Paul J. Dauchot, MD; Ralph G. DePalma, MD; Birgit Sorensen, MD; Gary Regula, PhD; Aaron H. Anton, PhD; Joachim S. Gravenstein, MD
Arch Surg. 1978;113(10):1196-1200. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1978.01370220082013.
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• In 12 patients with heart disease, hypercarbia was induced for carotid endarterectomy. Anesthesia was maintained with nitrous oxide in oxygen and methoxyflurane. In addition to intra-arterial measurements of blood pressure, cardiac output, systolic time intervals (STI), and pressure time indices (PTI) were determined in order to assess cardiovascular responses in these patients. Internal carotid stump blood pressure was measured in five patients before and after induction of hypercarbia. Mild elevation of the Paco2 level affected systolic time intervals but not heart rate and blood pressure. When Paco2 levels reached 56 to 65 torr, systolic but not diastolic blood pressure rose significantly, heart rate and cardiac output increased, while the shortening in the preejection period (PEP), left ventricular ejection lime (LVET), and the decrease in the PEP/LVET ratio signified increased mechanical cardiac activity. Hypercarbia caused intense sympathetic stimulation as demonstrated by twofold to threefold increases in plasma catecholamine levels. Stump blood pressure was elevated. Cardiac oxygen demand was significantly increased, while coronary filling time was shortened, as indicated by the increase in the tension time index and shortening in the diastolic time. This signified a relative myocardial underperfusion. Thus, while hypercarbia to levels of 66 to 70 torr increased internal carotid artery stump pressure, it also caused increased cardiac mechanical activity and concomitant unfavorable balance between myocardial oxygen consumption and supply. The measurement of STI and the computation of PTI provided early detection of alterations in cardiac function.

(Arch Surg 113:1196-1200, 1978)


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