To evaluate the effect of aortic occlusion and limb reperfusion on global and regional function of the right and left ventricle during infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, 23 patients underwent five intraoperative first-pass radionuclide angiocardiograms: 1) before the skin incision, 2) at aortic cross-clamp, 3) 20 minutes after aortic occlusion, 4) at unclamping, and 5) after skin closure. A subset of twelve patients had simultaneous transesophageal echocardiography to evaluate left ventricular wall stress. Parameters measured included the electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, blood pressure, pulmonary artery pressure, the cardiac output, the left and right ventricular ejection fractions, left ventricular volumes, and left ventricular wall stress. Significant changes (p less than 0.01) were observed at aortic clamping in the left ventricular ejection fraction (from 0.56 to 0.48), end-diastolic volume (from 171 to 225 ml), end-systolic volume (from 85 to 127 ml), mean blood pressure (from 82 to 91 mmHg), and meridional end-systolic wall stress (from 53 to 67 10(3) dyne/cm2). Once the clamp was removed, significant variations were seen in the left ventricular ejection fraction (from 0.51 to 0.58), end-diastolic volume (from 205 to 187 ml), end-systolic volume (from 105 to 94 ml), mean blood pressure (from 84 to 69 mmHg), and meridional end-systolic wall stress (from 67 to 46 10(3) dyne/cm2). No differences were observed between the two aortic occlusion studies, and the baseline level of function was recovered in all parameters during the last study. These data quantify the changes in heart function that occur during abdominal aortic aneurysm operation and demonstrate that the majority of the adaptations that occurred were due to a variation in afterload
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