Right ventricular injury in young swine: effects of catecholamines on right ventricular function and pulmonary vascular mechanics

J J McGovern, I M Cheifetz, D M Craig, A R Bengur, G Quick, R M Ungerleider, J N Meliones
Pediatric Research 2000, 48 (6): 763-9
Acute right ventricular (RV) injury is commonly encountered in infants and children after cardiac surgery. Empiric medical therapy for these patients results from a paucity of data on which to base medical management and the absence of animal models that allow rigorous laboratory testing. Specifically, exogenous catecholamines have unclear effects on the injured right ventricle and pulmonary vasculature in the young. Ten anesthetized piglets (9-12 kg) were instrumented with epicardial transducers, micromanometers, and a pulmonary artery flow probe. RV injury was induced with a cryoablation probe. Dopamine at 10 microg/kg/min, dobutamine at 10 microg/kg/min, and epinephrine (EP) at 0.1 microg/kg/min were infused in a random order. RV contractility was evaluated using preload recruitable stroke work. Diastolic function was described by the end-diastolic pressure-volume relation, peak negative derivative of the pressure waveform, and peak filling rate. In addition to routine hemodynamic measurements, Fourier transformation of the pressure and flow waveforms allowed calculation of input resistance, characteristic impedance, RV total hydraulic power, and transpulmonary vascular efficiency. Cryoablation led to a stable reproducible injury, decreased preload recruitable stroke work, and impaired diastolic function as measured by all three indices. Infusion of each catecholamine improved preload recruitable stroke work and peak negative derivative of the pressure waveform. Dobutamine and EP both decreased indices of pulmonary vascular impedance, whereas EP was the only inotrope that significantly improved transpulmonary vascular efficiency. Although all three inotropes improved systolic and diastolic RV function, only EP decreased input resistance, decreased pulmonary vascular resistance, and increased transpulmonary vascular efficiency.

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