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Microsurgery. 1999;19(3):135-40.

Brief ex vivo perfusion with heparinized and/or citrated whole blood enhances tolerance of free muscle flaps to prolonged ischemia.

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Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


This study investigated the use of heparinized and/or citrated whole blood as a perfusate for enhancing muscle tolerance to warm ischemia. Unilateral cutaneous trunci muscle flaps were harvested from Sprague-Dawley rats and stored for 10 hr at 22-24 degrees C prior to transplantation to the groin. One group served as a non-perfused control. In three experimental groups, the flaps were hand-perfused ex vivo with 1.0 ml of heparinized, citrated, or heparinized and citrated autogenous whole blood at physiological pressures. Perfusion was administered over a 10-min period 5 hr into the ischemic period. Flaps were revascularized on the femoral vessels and then harvested 48 hr following revascularization. Tissue injury was assessed by calculation of flap weight change (indicator of tissue edema), histochemical evaluation of muscle dehydrogenase activity (nitroblue tetrazolium assay), and light microscopy. All perfused groups had significantly higher muscle dehydrogenase activity compared with non-perfused controls (P < 0.005). Perfusion with combined heparin-citrated blood was significantly more protective than perfusion with either anticoagulant alone (P < 0.025). The only statistically significant reduction in percent flap edema was seen in the combined heparin-citrate perfusion of flaps compared with nonperfused controls (P < 0.05). Histologic evaluation confirmed a reduction in tissue edema in the perfused flaps. We conclude that mid-ischemic perfusion with heparinized and/or citrated blood limits the deleterious effects of extended warm ischemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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