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Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 1997 Sep;12(3):420-7.

Cardioprotective effects of diltiazem infusion in the perioperative period.

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  • 1Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi, India.



To evaluate the perioperative effects of intravenous diltiazem infusion on left ventricular functions, hemodynamics and as an anti-ischemic and antiarrhythmic agent in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG).


A double blind, randomised study was performed on 71 patients undergoing elective CABG. Infusion of diltiazem (0.1 mg/kg per h, n = 34) or nitroglycerin (1 microgram/kg per min, n = 37) was given for 24 h starting from onset of cardiopulmonary bypass. Holter monitoring, electrocardiogram and serum cardiac enzymes levels were used to diagnose myocardial ischemia. Myocardial function was assessed by perioperative transesophageal echocardiography.


The two groups did not differ with respect to preoperative and operative data. Diltiazem had no influence on hemodynamic parameters except for significant reduction in post operative heart rate and pulse pressure rate. Transient ischemic events (dilitiazem 10.2% versus nitroglycerin 33.3%, P = 0.15) and transient coronary spasm (diltiazem-6.8% versus nitroglycerin 25.9%, P = 0.15) were reduced in the diltiazem group as compared with the nitroglycerin group. The postoperative incidence of atrial fibrillation (diltiazem 3% versus nitroglycerin 22%, P = 0.03), supra ventricular tachycardia (diltiazem-3% versus nitroglycerin-22%, P = 0.03) and average ventricular premature contraction per h (diltiazem-40.2 +/- 10.2 versus nitroglycerin 53.8 +/- 12.3, P < 0.01) were significantly lower in the diltiazem group. Transesophageal echocardiography showed no significant difference in left ventricular functions and better preservation of left ventricular diastolic functions in post cardiopulmonary bypass period in diltiazem group. In addition mean deceleration time for the E wave on a 12 h post cardiopulmonary bypass period was significantly lower in the diltiazem group as compared with nitroglycerin (diltiazem 131 +/- 6 versus nitroglycerin 171 +/- 6, P < 0.01).


The present study demonstrates that diltiazem infusion provides superior anti-ischemic protection and control of supraventricular arrhythmias as compared to nitroglycerin and does not produce any negative inotropic effect, as demonstrated by transesophageal echocardiography.

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