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Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1999 Dec;47(6):347-51.

Post-perfusion syndrome and disturbed microcirculation after cardiac surgery: the role of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, Heinrich Heine University Hospital, Düsseldorf, Germany.



The sympathoadrenal and the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) are involved in blood pressure regulation. They are known to be activated during cardiac surgery. We investigated the influence of preoperative RAS-blockade using angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEI) on hemodynamic variables and on the perioperative need for exogenous catecholamines.


240 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) or valve surgery were divided into three matched groups (group A: pre- and postoperative ACEI; group B: ACEI only pre-, not postoperatively; group C: no ACEI). In these three groups we analyzed hemodynamic variables, the need for catecholamines and the incidence of a "post-perfusion syndrome" or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) with impaired microcirculation.


There were significant differences in the intra- and postoperative need for catecholamines in groups A and B compared to C (intraop. A: 35%, B: 35%, C: 15%; postop. A: 21.2%, B: 16.2%, C: 10%) (p < 0.05). In the ACEI groups (A and B) there were 9 patients with a postoperative SIRS, only 2 cases in group C. Furthermore 4 patients of group B suffered from disturbances of the intestinal microcirculation postoperatively.


Long-term ACEI treatment before cardiac surgery raises the perioperative need for catecholamines. Patients with preoperative long-term use of ACEI who do not receive ACEI postoperatively face an increased risk of impaired microcirculation. The inhibition of angiotensin-II (AT II) generation causes the vasodilatatory effects of ACEI, and could be one reason for a post-perfusion syndrome or a SIRS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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