Smith, M. V., R. F. Stahl, C. Cronin, C. Hsi, J. M. Li, J. BelleIsle, M. Knox and T. J. Vander-Salm. Retrograde coronary sinus perfusion provides non-homogeneous myocardial blood flow. Cardiology. 83:331-8, 1993.
The ability of retrograde cardioplegia to protect the right ventricle has been questioned. Canine myocardial circulation was assessed by infusing colored microspheres through the coronary sinus. The relative flow index (RFI), a normalized measure of tissue blood flow, was determined for 76 sections of myocardium. Three distinct flow regions were evident from these measurements. A paucity of blood flow through some basal sections of the right ventricle (RFI = 0.23 +/- 0.19) was found to be significantly different (p < 0.005) from regions of the heart with normal flow (RFI = 1.12 +/- 0.06). Sections from the right ventricular apex demonstrated augmented flow (RFI = 3.72 +/- 1.18). These data indicate that retrograde coronary perfusion provides nonuniform flow and under some conditions may provide inadequate perfusion to portions of the right ventricle.