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American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons

Physiologic Changes in the Heart Following Cessation of Mechanical Ventilation in a Porcine Model of Donation After Circulatory Death: Implications for Cardiac Transplantation.


PMID 26663659

Abstract

Hearts donated following circulatory death (DCD) may represent an additional source of organs for transplantation; however, the impact of donor extubation on the DCD heart has not been well characterized. We sought to describe the physiologic changes that occur following withdrawal of life-sustaining therapy (WLST) in a porcine model of DCD. Physiologic changes were monitored continuously for 20 min following WLST. Ventricular pressure, volume, and function were recorded using a conductance catheter placed into the right (N = 8) and left (N = 8) ventricles, and using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, N = 3). Hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction occurred following WLST, and was associated with distension of the right ventricle (RV) and reduced cardiac output. A 120-fold increase in epinephrine was subsequently observed that produced a transient hyperdynamic phase; however, progressive RV distension developed during this time. Circulatory arrest occurred 7.6±0.3 min following WLST, at which time MRI demonstrated an 18±7% increase in RV volume and a 12±9% decrease in left ventricular volume compared to baseline. We conclude that hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction and a profound catecholamine surge occur following WLST that result in distension of the RV. These changes have important implications on the resuscitation, preservation, and evaluation of DCD hearts prior to transplantation.

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