Study objective: Endotoxin is a powerful trigger of systemic inflammation. Since cardiac surgery exposes patients to endotoxemia, this study was set up to define the relationship between preoperative endogenous endotoxin immune status, gut perfusion, and outcome following cardiac valve replacement surgery.
Design: Observational study.
Setting: University hospital.
Patients: Fifty-nine consecutive patients undergoing cardiac valve replacement.
Measurements and main results: Blood was assayed for IgG and IgM endotoxin core antibody (EndoCAb) levels preoperatively, immediately postoperatively, and at 4 h and 24 h postoperatively. Intraoperative gut mucosal perfusion was assessed using gastric tonometry. Complications were assessed for groups above and below the median EndoCAb value of a healthy population (100 median units µ/mL). Of the 59 patients, 12 developed at least one of a set of predefined complications. Of these 12, all had preoperative levels of IgM EndoCAb below 100 MU/mL (p<0.025). Eleven had IgG EndoCAb levels below 100 MU/mL (0.05<p<0.1). There was no relationship between the fall in gastric intramucosal pH and exposure to endotoxin as implied by the fall in unbound IgM EndoCAb levels, although the specificity of tonometry for predicting complications could be improved by considering the patient's preoperative EndoCAb status.
Conclusions: Preoperative EndoCAb levels were related to poor outcome following cardiac surgery and may be used to improve the specificity of GI tonometry in predicting postoperative complications.