Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Anesthesiology. 1997 Mar;86(3):699-709.

Volatile anesthetics protect the ischemic rabbit myocardium from infarction.

Author information

  • 1University of South Alabama College of Medicine, Mobile, USA.



The influence of anesthetic agents on the infarction process in the ischemic myocardium is unclear. This study evaluated the effects of three intravenous and three inhalational anesthetic agents on myocardial infarction within a quantified ischemic risk zone in rabbit hearts subjected to a standardized regional ischemia-reperfusion insult.


Both in vitro and in situ rabbit models were used to investigate the effects of anesthetic agents on infarct size. In all rabbits the heart was exposed and a coronary artery surrounded with a suture to form a snare for subsequent occlusion. In in situ preparations, both intravenous and inhalational agents were tested, whereas only the latter were used in isolated hearts. Infarct size was determined by triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. To determine whether an adenosine-mediated protective mechanism was involved, 8-(p-sulfophenyl)theophylline, an adenosine receptor blocker, was added to halothane-treated isolated hearts. Adenosine concentration in the coronary effluent was also measured in isolated hearts exposed to halothane. In other protocols, chelerythrine, a highly selective protein kinase C inhibitor, was administered to both halothane-treated and untreated isolated hearts.


Infarcts in the three in situ groups anesthetized with halothane, enflurane, and isoflurane were about one half as large as infarcts in rabbits that underwent anesthesia with pentobarbital, ketamine-xylazine, or propofol. Volatile anesthetics also protected isolated hearts by a similar amount. Both adenosine receptor blockade and chelerythrine abolished cardioprotection from halothane in isolated hearts. Halothane treatment did not increase adenosine release.


The volatile anesthetics tested protected the ischemic rabbit heart from infarction, in contrast to the three intravenous agents tested. Protection was independent of the hypotensive effect of the inhalational agents because halothane also protected isolated hearts, in which changing vascular tone is not an issue and coronary perfusion pressure is constant. Cardioprotection by volatile anesthetics depended on both adenosine receptors and protein kinase C, and thus is similar to the mechanism of protection seen with ischemic preconditioning.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk