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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 1997 Dec;114(6):991-1000; discussion 1000-1.

Perioperative effects of alpha-stat versus pH-stat strategies for deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass in infants.

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Department of Cardiology, Children's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



In a randomized, single-center trial, we compared perioperative outcomes in infants undergoing cardiac operations after use of the alpha-stat versus pH-stat strategy during deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass.


Admission criteria included reparative cardiac surgery, age less than 9 months, birth weight 2.25 kg or more, and absence of associated congenital or acquired extracardiac disorders.


Among the 182 infants in the study, diagnoses included D-transposition of the great arteries (n = 92), tetralogy of Fallot (n = 50), tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia (n = 6), ventricular septal defect (n = 20), truncus arteriosus (n = 8), complete atrioventricular canal (n = 4), and total anomalous pulmonary venous return (n = 2). Ninety patients were assigned to alpha-stat and 92 to pH-stat strategy. Early death occurred in four infants (2%), all in the alpha-stat group (p = 0.058). Postoperative electroencephalographic seizures occurred in five of 57 patients (9%) assigned to alpha-stat and one of 59 patients (2%) assigned to pH-stat strategy (p = 0.11). Clinical seizures occurred in four infants in the alpha-stat group (4%) and two infants in the pH-stat group (2%) (p = 0.44). First electroencephalographic activity returned sooner among infants randomized to pH-stat strategy (p = 0.03). Within the homogeneous D-transposition subgroup, those assigned to pH-stat tended to have a higher cardiac index despite a lower requirement for inotropic agents; less frequent postoperative acidosis (p = 0.02) and hypotension (p = 0.05); and shorter duration of mechanical ventilation (p = 0.01) and intensive care unit stay (p = 0.01).


Use of the pH-stat strategy in infants undergoing deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass was associated with lower postoperative morbidity, shorter recovery time to first electroencephalographic activity, and, in patients with D-transposition, shorter duration of intubation and intensive care unit stay. These data challenge the notion that alpha-stat management is a superior strategy for organ protection during reparative operations in infants using deep hypothermic cardiopulmonary bypass.

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