Skip main navigation

Vital organ perfusion during assisted circulation by manipulation of intrathoracic pressure.

Originally published 1991;84:279–286


    We have previously shown, in dogs with severe cardiac depression, that modest cyclic increases in intrathoracic pressure, starting synchronously with left ventricular isovolumic contraction, significantly increase aortic flow and pressure. However, little is known of changes in vital organ perfusion during this technique of assisted circulation.


    We studied regional organ flow using radioactive labeled microspheres in 13 20-25-kg mongrel dogs. In the control group, after chemical induction of cardiac depression with verapamil and propranolol, coronary flow fell from 129.1 +/- 14.4 to 51.6 +/- 11.3 ml/100 g/min (p less than 0.005) and continued to decline over a 14-minute time period (flow was 32.2 +/- 11.5 ml/100 g/min at 7 minutes and 20.7 +/- 9.5 ml/100 g/min at 14 minutes [n = 6]; all p less than 0.05). In the intervention group, regional blood flow was evaluated before and after the induction of cardiac depression and also during assisted circulation using 400-msec, 20-25-mm Hg intrathoracic pressure increases delivered by a circumthoracic pneumatic vest, starting synchronously with left ventricular isovolumic contraction. In the intervention group, coronary flow fell from 119 +/- 26.7 to 47.9 +/- 13.1 ml/100 g/min 1 minute after the induction of cardiac depression (p less than 0.005). With the initiation of assisted circulation, coronary flow increased to 55.8 +/- 19.2 ml/100 g/min at 7 minutes and fell to 23.1 +/- 15.9 ml/100 g/min on termination of assisted circulation at 14 minutes (p less than 0.05 and p = NS versus control group flows at 1 and 14 minutes, respectively). During assisted circulation, cerebral, renal, and small intestinal flows also increased (all p less than 0.05 versus flows during myocardial depression). No significant increase in hepatic flow was observed.


    In the canine model, manipulation of intrathoracic pressure appears to be an effective, short-term, noninvasive means of not only increasing aortic pressure but also increasing vital organ perfusion during cardiogenic shock. Further studies are needed to assess the usefulness of this technique of assisted circulation in humans.


    eLetters should relate to an article recently published in the journal and are not a forum for providing unpublished data. Comments are reviewed for appropriate use of tone and language. Comments are not peer-reviewed. Acceptable comments are posted to the journal website only. Comments are not published in an issue and are not indexed in PubMed. Comments should be no longer than 500 words and will only be posted online. References are limited to 10. Authors of the article cited in the comment will be invited to reply, as appropriate.

    Comments and feedback on AHA/ASA Scientific Statements and Guidelines should be directed to the AHA/ASA Manuscript Oversight Committee via its Correspondence page.