Nitroglycerin facilitates microcirculation and oxygen delivery through vasodilation. The purpose of this study was to clarify the effects of nitroglycerin-induced vasodilation and potential hypotension on tissue perfusion under cerebral oximetry monitoring during rewarming in cardiopulmonary bypass.
Elective cardiac surgical patients were randomly assigned to either a nitroglycerin group (n = 32) with an intravenous infusion of 1–5 mcg/kg/min or a control group (n = 31) with 0–0.1 mcg/kg/min infusion, since the initiation of rewarming. Perioperative arterial blood gas data were collected in addition to hemodynamic variables, cerebral oximetry values, urine output, and postoperative outcomes.
Nearly one-fifth (6/32) of patients in the nitroglycerin group experienced transient (≤5 min) profound hypotension (mean arterial blood pressure ≤40 mmHg) after the initiation of infusion. There were no significant differences between groups in terms of perioperative levels of cerebral oximetry, cardiac index, plasma glucose, lactate, bicarbonate, base excess, or post-bypass activated coagulation time. In the nitroglycerin group, urine output was nonsignificantly higher during cardiopulmonary bypass (p = 0.099) and within 8 h after surgery (p = 0.157). Perioperative transfused blood products, postoperative inotropic doses, extubation time, and intensive care unit stay were comparable for the two groups.
Initiation of intravenous nitroglycerin infusion (at 1–5 mcg/kg/min) during rewarming in hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass resulted in transient profound hypotension in one-fifth of patients and did not improve perioperative cerebral oxygenation, tissue perfusion, and coagulation in cardiac surgery.