Direct compression of the failing heart reestablishes maximal mechanical efficiency.

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Ann Thorac Surg, 2003, 75 (1), pp. 190 - 196
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BACKGROUND: In failing hearts, homeostatic mechanisms contrive to maximize stroke work and maintain normal arterial blood pressure at the expense of energetic efficiency. In contrast dobutamine reestablishes maximal mechanical efficiency by promoting energetically optimal loading conditions. However, dobutamine also wastefully increases nonmechanical oxygen consumption. We investigated whether direct mechanical cardiac compression would reestablish maximal mechanical efficiency without the oxygen-wasting effect. METHODS: The pressure-volume relationship and myocardial oxygen consumption were derived in sheep using left ventricular pressure and volume from manometer-tipped and conductance catheters, and coronary flow from Transonics flow probe. RESULTS: Propranolol hydrochloride and atropine sulfate were administered to reduce ejection fraction to 21% when ventricular elastance fell to 1.35 mm Hg/mL and mechanical efficiency to 79% of maximal. Low-pressure direct mechanical compression of the failing heart restored mechanical efficiency to 94% of maximal and realigned optimal left ventricular end-systolic pressure with operating left ventricular end-systolic pressure without altering nonmechanical oxygen consumption. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that direct cardiac compression restores mechanical efficiency to normal maximum without wasting energy on additional nonmechanical activity.
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