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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Microemboli during coronary artery bypass grafting. Genesis and effect on outcome.

Cerebral dysfunction after coronary artery bypass operations represents some of the most serious and costly complications of cardiac surgery. We used transcranial Doppler ultrasonography to detect and quantify the number of microemboli in the right middle cerebral artery of patients undergoing elective first coronary bypass operations (n = 117) and second coronary bypass operations (n = 10). We hypothesized that total microemboli were related to clinical outcome. A 2 MHz transducer was positioned in front of the ear above the zygomatic arch and depth gated to 50 mm. Microemboli were recorded as perturbations of the blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery and aurally monitored. Each episode of microembolism was specified both by clock time and as a perfusion or surgical event. Forty-one patients (32%) completed neuropsychologic evaluation with a battery of tests for cognitive function. Anxiety states and traits were also assessed. The distribution of microembolism showed that there were three groups of patients: < 30 microemboli (n = 83); 30 to 59 (n = 24); and > 60 (n = 20). Seven of 10 patients with cerebral complications (stroke, coma, delirium, aberrant behavior) were in the > 60 microemboli group. Those with cerebral complications had 20.7 +/- 4.5 microemboli from perfusion and 57.4 +/- 15.6 from surgical events. The 13 patients in the > 60 microemboli group without central nervous system symptoms had 95.5 +/- 19.5 microemboli from perfusion and 36.0 +/- 6.9 from surgical events. Neuropsychologic scores were most often depressed for memory (73%), comprehension (49%), attention (46%), and constructional ability (44%). The greatest change was in total score in the > 60 microemboli group (-3.3 +/- 0.6) compared with -1.1 +/- 0.2 and -1.9 +/- 0.2 for the 30 to 59 and < 30 groups, respectively. The incidences of cardiac and pulmonary complications and mortality were different between those patients with < 60 microemboli versus those with > 60 microemboli. Cardiac and pulmonary complications and mortality percentages were 4.7%, 3.7%, and 0.9%, respectively, for the < 60 microemboli group and 20%, 20%, and 15%, respectively, for the > 60 microemboli group. We concluded that transcranial Doppler ultrasonography is a useful technique to quantify and detect the source of microemboli during coronary artery bypass operations and may be useful in assessing new operative strategies, the quality of the perfusion, and potentially as an indicator for pharmacologic therapy in the operating room in patients with high microemboli counts.[1]


  1. Microemboli during coronary artery bypass grafting. Genesis and effect on outcome. Clark, R.E., Brillman, J., Davis, D.A., Lovell, M.R., Price, T.R., Magovern, G.J. J. Thorac. Cardiovasc. Surg. (1995) [Pubmed]
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