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Online ISSN 1827-1596
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Hôpital Laennec - Paris
Several factors combine to facilitate the evolution towards heart and multi-organ failure following cardiac surgery. Some of these factors are related to pure cardiac aspects like the existence of a preoperative heart disease, the use of aortic cross clamping or performance of cardiotomy. Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) also plays an important role in the occurrence of postoperative organ dysfunctions by two principal means: firstly by inducing a profound hemodilution, which impairs oxygen transport through tissues. This phenomenon is pointed out in the postoperative period by the existence of increased transpulmonary O2 gradients, extravascular lung water volume and subsequent impairments of O2 transport. Secondly CPB is deleterious by triggering an important inflammatory reaction. This reaction is largely related to the ratio of the circuit area to the patient’s body surface area and is therefore maximal in children. It has been widely demonstrated that the very early paths of this reaction imply several humoral factors including kinins, coagulation factor-XII and complement fragments. The activation of these factors is self-amplified and triggers both expression and release of numerous mediators by endothelial cells and leukocytes. Finally, these mediators are responsible for the well described “post-bypass syndrome” which is, from a clinical viewpoint, very close to hyperkinetic septic shocks.
Several methods have been proposed to reduce the deleterious effects of both cardiac surgery and CPB. The older one is hypothermia that considerably reduces the triggering of the inflammatory mediators network. Heparin-coated circuits may also reduce this reaction to some extent. Hemofiltration has been introduced in the 90’s in CPB management. Because of its very high tolerance in patients with compromised circulatory status this technique was already used in the postoperative period to treat patients with acute renal failure. Initially hemofiltration was intended to correct the accumulation of extravascular water during or immediately following the surgical procedure. Nevertheless several of its “ side-effects ” appeared to be useful like reduction of postoperative blood loss and immediate hemodynamics improvement. Several studies attempted to point out the mechanism of action of hemofiltration and although removal of inflammatory mediator occurs, there is currently no proofs that this removal is the actual mechanism by which this technique acts.
At the early beginning of the use of its utilization hemofiltration during cardiac surgery aimed either to concentrate blood at the end of the procedure or to rapidly restore a normal fluid and electrolytes balance. Today some new implementations of this technique are proposed either to reduce the triggering of the inflammatory reaction to CPB or to reduce the immediate postoperative drug support.