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Cryobiology. 1992 Aug;29(4):478-84.

Freezing preservation of the mammalian cardiac explant. VI. Effect of thawing rate on functional recovery.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Rochester, New York 14642.


This study investigated the effect of thawing rate on the preservation of frozen isolated rat hearts. The hearts were flushed with a hyperosmotic cardioplegic solution, CP-14/EtOH (1.15 Osm/kg), frozen at a rate of 0.18 degree C/hr for 6 h to -3.2 degrees C. Thereafter, the hearts were thawed at rates ranging from 0.08 to 1.1 degrees C/min for 1 to 14 min until the heart temperature reached -2.1 degrees C, the melting point (MP) of the flush solution; then they were held at -1 degree C for 11 to 24 min so that the total thaw time was 25 min. Post-thaw function was assessed by working reperfusion and expressed as percentage of unstored control function. Cardiac output (CO) and other hemodynamic performance showed biphasic responses to the thaw rate. At 0.08 degree C/min rate, CO recovered to 29.1 +/- 4.1 ml/min (40.8 +/- 5.8% of control). Thawing at 0.13 degree C/min enhanced the recovery of CO to 60.5 +/- 4.9%. Between 0.13 and 0.34 degree C/min, recovery was statistically insignificant. Faster thawing at 0.59 and 1.1 degrees C/min caused progressively less recovery. Overall, 0.13 degree C/min offered the highest recovery. In conclusion, function in slowly frozen heart is intimately affected by the thawing rate; there was an optimal intermediate thawing rate and both too slow and too fast thawing were detrimental.

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