Objective: To assess by Doppler echocardiography the effects of 24 hours of whole body mild hypothermia compared with normothermia on cardiac output (CO), pulmonary artery pressure (PAP), and the presence of a persistent ductus arteriosus (PDA) after a global hypoxic-ischaemic insult in unsedated newborn animals.
Design: Thirty five pigs (mean (SD) age 26.6 (12.1) hours and weight 1.6 (0.3) kg) were anaesthetised with halothane, mechanically ventilated, and subjected to a 45 minute global hypoxic-ischaemic insult. At the end of hypoxia, halothane was stopped; the pigs were randomised to either normathermia (39°C) or hypothermia (35°C) for 24 hours. Rewarming was carried out for 24–30 hours followed by 42 hours of normothermia. Unanaesthetised pigs were examined with a VingMed CFM 750 ultrasound scanner before and 3, 24, 30, and 48 hours after the hypoxic-ischaemic insult. Aortic valve diameter, forward peak flow velocities across the four valves, and the occurrence of a PDA were measured. Tricuspid regurgitation (TR) velocity was used to estimate the PAP. Stroke volume was calculated from the aortic flow.
Results: Twelve animals (seven normothermic, five hypothermic) had a PDA on one or more examinations, which showed no association with cooling or severity of insult. There were no differences in stroke volume or TR velocity between the hypothermic and normothermic animals at any time point after the insult. CO was, however, 45% lower at the end of cooling in the subgroup of hypothermic pigs that had received a severe insult compared with the pigs with mild and moderate insults. CO and TR velocity were transiently increased three hours after the insult: 0.38 (0.08) v 0.42 (0.08) litres/min/kg (p = 0.007) for CO; 3.0 (0.42) v 3.4 (0.43) m/s (p < 0.0001) for TR velocity (values are mean (SD)).
Conclusions: The introduction of mild hypothermia while the pigs were unsedated did not affect the incidence of PDA nor did it lead to any changes in MABP or PAP. Stroke volume was also unaffected by temperature, but hypothermic piglets subjected to a severe hypoxic-ischaemic insult had reduced CO because the heart rate was lower. Global hypoxia-ischaemia leads to similar transient increases in CO and estimated PAP in unsedated normothermic and hypothermic pigs. There were no signs of metabolic compromise in any subgroup, suggesting that 24 hours of mild hypothermia had no adverse cardiovascular effect.
- cardiac output
- MABP, mean arterial blood pressure
- HR, heart rate
- CO, cardiac output
- PAP, pulmonary artery pressure
- PDA, patient ductus arteriosus
- EEG, electroencephalogram
- Fio2, fractional inspired oxygen
- TR, tricuspid regurgitation
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