Data from Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia - Curated by EPG Health - Date available 16 August 2018

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Original date published

16 August 2018

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Epub ahead of print

Objective: A novel treatment with intravenous levosimendan and vasopressin for new-onset acute pulmonary hypertension after weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass is described.

Design: Retrospective analysis of a case series.

Setting: Single-center study.

Participants: Nineteen patients undergoing cardiac surgery exhibited new-onset acute pulmonary hypertension with acute right ventricular dysfunction after cardiopulmonary bypass.

Intervention: Pulmonary hypertension with acute right heart dysfunction was treated with levosimendan as inodilator therapy and vasopressin combined with norepinephrine for systemic vasopressor therapy.

Measurements and main results: Mean pulmonary artery pressure decreased from 32 ± 9 to 26 ± 6 mmHg (p = 0.039) in the first 24 hours along with an increase in cardiac output (3.2 ± 1 to 4.2 ± 1.1 L/min; p = 0.012) and resolution of lactic acidosis. The ratio between mean pulmonary artery pressure and mean arterial pressure decreased from 1:2 to 1:3, and Wood units decreased from 3 ± 1 to 1.5 ± 2 (p = 0.042). At 30 days after intervention, 3 patients died.

Conclusion: The combination of levosimendan for inotropic support of the right ventricle in conjunction with its vasodilatory effect on the pulmonary circulation, along with the combination of vasopressin and norepinephrine for systemic vasopressor therapy, may be an effective alternative for the treatment of acute new-onset pulmonary hypertension and acute right heart dysfunction after cardiopulmonary bypass. Although there are many confounding variables in this case series, these findings justify additional sufficiently powered trials.

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