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Perfusion. 2001 Sep;16(5):353-60.

Systemic inflammation and cardiac surgery: an update.

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Cardiothoracic Department, Imperial College School of Medicine at Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.


Cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is associated with the development of a systemic inflammatory response that can often lead to dysfunction of major organs. The systemic inflammation can be assessed intra- and postoperatively by measuring concentrations of inflammatory mediators in plasma and tissues. These concentrations, however, do not always correlate with the degree of observed organ dysfunction. Various strategies have been used to reduce inflammatory phenomena in patients undergoing CPB. Cardiac surgery without CPB has been performed increasingly with satisfactory results over the past few years. Attenuation of systemic inflammation and improved outcome in high risk patients are potential benefits of this technique. The emergence and expanding performance of cardiac surgical procedures without the use of CPB has given us an excellent tool to investigate the relative importance of CPB as a cause of systemic inflammation. Aprotinin is a protease inhibitor which is used in cardiac surgical patients for its haemostatic effects. Aprotinin has anti-inflammatory properties, the nature of which have not been completely clarified. This article presents a summary of the published literature investigating inflammatory response and organ dysfunction in patients who have cardiac surgery without CPB. It also presents an overview of recent data on the anti-inflammatory action mechanisms of aprotinin.

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