Hypothermic Aortic Arch Flush for Preservation during Exsanguination Cardiac Arrest of 15 Minutes in Dogs

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Trauma victims rarely survive cardiac arrest from exsanguination. Survivors may suffer neurologic damage. Our hypothesis was that a hypothermic aortic arch flush of 500 mL of isotonic saline solution at 4 degrees C, compared with 24 degrees C (room temperature), administered at the start of prolonged exsanguination cardiac arrest (CA) would improve functional neurologic outcome in dogs.


Seventeen male hunting dogs were prepared under light N2O-halothane anesthesia. The animals were randomized into two groups: group I (n = 9) received 4 degrees C isotonic saline flush and group II (n = 6) received 24 degrees C flush. Two additional dogs received no flush. While spontaneously breathing, the dogs underwent normothermic (tympanic membrane temperature [Ttm] = 37.5 degrees C) exsanguination over 5 minutes to cardiac arrest, assured by electric induction of ventricular fibrillation. After 2 minutes of arrest, the flush was administered over 1 minute into the aortic arch by means of a 13 French balloon-tipped catheter inserted by means of the femoral artery. After 15 minutes of CA, resuscitation was with closed-chest cardiopulmonary bypass, return of shed blood, and defibrillation. For the first 12 hours after CA, core temperature was maintained at 34 degrees C. Mechanical ventilation was continued to 20 hours and intensive care to 72 hours, when final evaluation and perfusion-fixation killing for brain histologic damage scoring were performed.


Three dogs in group I were excluded because of extracerebral complications. All 14 dogs that followed protocol survived. During CA, the Ttm decreased to 33.6 +/- 1.2 degrees C in group I and 35.9 +/- 0.4 degrees C in group II (p = 0.002). At 72 hours, in group I, all dogs achieved an overall performance category (OPC) of 1 (normal). In group II, 1 dog was OPC 2 (moderate disability), 3 dogs were OPC 3 (severe disability), and 2 dogs were OPC 4 (coma). Both dogs without flush were OPC 4. Neurologic deficit scores (NDS 0% = normal, 100% = brain death) were 1 +/- 1% in group I and 41 +/- 12% in group II (p < 0.05). The two dogs without flush achieved an NDS of 47% and 59%. Total brain histologic damage scores were 35 +/- 28 in group I and 82 +/- 17 in group II (p < 0.01); and 124 and 200 in the nonflushed dogs.


At the start of 15 minutes of exsanguination cardiac arrest in dogs, hypothermic aortic arch flush allows resuscitation to survival with normal neurologic function and histologically almost clean brains.

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