Vacuum-assisted apical suction devices induce passive electrical changes consistent with myocardial ischemia during off-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery

Roger Dzwonczyk, Carlos L.del Rio, Chittoor Sai-Sudhakar, John H. Sirak, Robert E. Michler, Benjamin Sun, Nicole Kelbick, Michael B. Howie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Off-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery is common therapy to completely revascularize diseased hearts. In order to graft posterior arteries in this procedure, the heart must be lifted from the chest cavity and manipulated to expose the surgical field using an apical suction device. This suction device may cause unwanted myocardial ischemia. Methods: In this observational study, we measured myocardial electrical impedance, a parameter that responds to myocardial ischemia, as well as ST-segment changes during off-pump coronary artery bypass graft surgery in 12 patients with two-vessel coronary artery disease undergoing revascularisation of the left anterior descending and the posterior descending coronary arteries. During the posterior descending artery revascularisation phase of the procedure the apical suction device was oriented over the electrodes used to measure myocardial electrical impedance, thus allowing us the opportunity to assess myocardial ischemia in this region of the heart. Results: In these 12 patients, myocardial electrical impedance progressively increased under the suction device during posterior coronary artery revascularisation, suggesting that myocardial ischemia developed in this region of the myocardium. ST-segment changes were negligible while the heart was vertically displaced (and the suction device attached), but increased immediately when the heart was returned to the neutral anatomical position. Conclusion: Our data suggest that the apical suction device may cause ischemia while the heart is vertically displaced and electrically disconnected from the body. Under these conditions, ST-segment changes may not detect myocardial ischemia. Myocardial electrical impedance has the potential to reliably detect intraoperative myocardial ischemia under these circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)873-876
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Apical suction devices
  • Myocardial electrical impedance
  • Myocardial ischemia
  • Off-pump coronary artery bypass surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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