Rudis, E., R. N. Gates, H. Laks, D. C. Drinkwater, A. Ardehali, A. Aharon and P. Chang. Coronary sinus ostial occlusion during retrograde delivery of cardioplegic solution significantly improves cardioplegic distribution and efficacy [see comments]. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 109:941-6; discussion 946-7., 1995.

This study documents the gross flow characteristics and capillary distribution of cardioplegic solution delivered retrogradely with the coronary sinus open versus closed. METHODS: Five explanted human hearts from transplant recipients were used as experimental models. Hearts served as their own controls and received two doses of warm blood cardioplegic solution, each containing colored microspheres. The first dose was delivered through a retroperfusion catheter with the coronary sinus open and the second dose was delivered with the sinus occluded. Capillary flow was measured at twelve ventricular sites and gross flow was measured by examining coronary sinus regurgitation, thebesian vein drainage, and aortic effluent (nutrient flow). RESULTS: Coronary sinus ostial occlusion allowed for a significant decrease in total cardioplegic flow (1.74 +/- 0.40 ml/gm versus 1.06 +/- 0.32 ml/gm; p < 0.05) to occur while maintaining an identical intracoronary sinus pressure. Ostial occlusion also resulted in an increase in the ratio of nutrient flow/total cardioplegic flow from 32.3% +/- 15.1% to 61.3% +/- 7.9% (p < 0.05). A statistically significant improvement in capillary flow was found at the midventricular level in the posterior intraventricular septum and posterolateral right ventricular free wall. This improvement was also documented for the intraventricular septum and right ventricle at the level of the apex. CONCLUSION: Coronary sinus occlusion during retrograde cardioplegia significantly improves cardioplegic delivery to the right ventricle and posterior intraventricular septum. Furthermore, the technique affords a significant improvement in nutrient cardioplegic flow while reducing the overall volume of cardioplegic solution administered.