Flynn, A. E., D. L. Coggins, R. E. Austin, D. D. Muehrcke, G. S. Aldea, M. Goto, J. W. Doucette and J. I. Hoffman. Nonuniform blood flow in the canine left ventricle. J Surg Res. 49:379-84, 1990.

In order to investigate the relationship between coronary perfusion pressure and blood flow distribution in the left ventricle (LV), we measured myocardial blood flow in small regions using radioactive microspheres in six anesthetized, open-chest dogs. Mean coronary perfusion pressure (CPP) was controlled with a femoral artery to left main coronary artery shunt which included a pressurized, servo-controlled blood reservoir. In each dog, we measured flow in 192 regions of the LV free wall (mean weight per region = 206 +/- 38 mg) at different perfusion pressures. At CPP = 80 mm Hg, blood flow to individual regions varied fourfold (0.30 to 1.18 ml/min/g; relative dispersion (RD) = 21.8 +/- 2.3%). At CPP = 50 mm Hg, flow varied over sevenfold (0.08 to 0.60 ml/min/g; RD = 42.8 +/- 10%; P less than 0.01 vs 80 mm Hg). This relationship between flow variability and CPP was present within individual LV layers as well between layers and is much higher than the error associated with the microsphere technique. We conclude that blood flow to small regions of the LV is markedly nonuniform. This heterogeneity becomes more profound at lower CPP. These findings suggest that (1) global measurements of coronary flow must be interpreted with caution, and (2) even in hearts with normal coronary arteries some regions of the LV are more susceptible to ischemia than others. In addition, these findings may help explain the patchy nature of myocardial damage that occurs following periods of low coronary pressure or inadequate myocardial protection during cardiopulmonary bypass.