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Median Fibrillation Frequency in Cardiac Surgery : Influence of Temperature and Guide to Countershock Therapy

Hans-Ulrich Strohmenger; Wolfgang Hemmer; Karl H. Lindner; Judith Schickling; Charles G. Brown
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Affiliations: From the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Ulm, Germany,  From the Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Ulm, Germany,  From the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Ohio State University, Columbus

Affiliations: From the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Ulm, Germany,  From the Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Ulm, Germany,  From the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Ohio State University, Columbus

Affiliations: From the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, University of Ulm, Germany,  From the Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Ulm, Germany,  From the Department of Emergency Medicine, the Ohio State University, Columbus


1997 by the American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 1997;111(6):1560-1564. doi:10.1378/chest.111.6.1560
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Abstract

Objective: This study was designed (1) to investigate the effects of normothermic and hypothermic perfusion on the median frequency of the fibrillating myocardium, and (2) to elucidate whether frequency-guided countershock therapy improves countershock success during the reperfusion phase of cardiac surgery.

Design: Prospective, randomized study.

Setting: University hospital cardiac surgery room.

Patients: Thirty patients (first part of the study) and 38 patients (second part of the study) scheduled for elective coronary artery bypass surgery.

Methods and results: During cardiopulmonary bypass, ventricular fibrillation (VF) was induced at a core body temperature of 34.1±0.2°C (normothermia) (n=15) or at a core body temperature of 29.8±0.2°C (hypothermia) (n=15). Using fast Fourier transformation of the ECG signal, median fibrillation frequency was recorded continuously for a period of 120 s. At the end of surgery, countershock was performed as soon as VF was recognized on the ECG monitor (X Hz group; n=19) or countershock was not performed until median fibrillation frequency had increased to the threshold of at least 5 Hz (5 Hz group; n=19). Median fibrillation frequency in the normothermic fibrillation group was statistically higher than in the hypothermic group. In the X Hz and 5 Hz countershock group, median fibrillation frequency before the first countershock attempt was 3.6±0.2 Hz and 5.4±0.1 Hz (p<0.0001), respectively. In the X Hz group, six countershocks resulted in supraventricular rhythm, 10 in VF, two in electromechanical dissociation, and one in asystole. In the 5 Hz group, 16 countershocks resulted in supraventricular rhythm, two in VF, and one in asystole (p=0.008).

Conclusions: During normothermia, median fibrillation frequency is significantly higher than during hypothermic perfusion conditions. During the reperfusion phase of cardiac surgery, countershock success rate is significantly higher when a threshold of at least 5 Hz had been reached before the first countershock attempt.


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