Effects of Prolonged Serum Calcium Suppression during Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in Pigs
Controlled reperfusion by monitoring the blood pressure, blood flow, and specific blood parameters during extracorporeal reperfusion after cardiac arrest has the potential to limit ischemia–reperfusion injury. The intracellular calcium overload as part of the ischemia–reperfusion injury provides the possibility for the injury to be counteracted by the early suppression of serum calcium with the aim of improving survival and the neurological outcome. We investigated the effects of prolonged serum calcium suppression via sodium citrate during extracorporeal resuscitation using the CARL protocol (CARL—controlled automated reperfusion of the whole body) compared to a single-dose approach in a porcine model after prolonged cardiac arrest. A control group (N = 10) was resuscitated after a 20 min cardiac arrest, initially lowering the intravascular calcium with the help of a single dose of sodium citrate as part of the priming solution. Animals in the intervention group (N = 13) received additional sodium citrate for the first 15 min of reperfusion. In the control group, 9/10 (90.0%) animals survived until day 7 and 7/13 (53.8%) survived in the intervention group ( p = 0.09). A favorable neurological outcome on day 7 after the cardiac arrest was observed in all the surviving animals using a species-specific neurological deficit score. The coronary perfusion pressure was significantly lower with a tendency towards more cardiac arrhythmias in the intervention group. In conclusion, a prolonged reduction in serum calcium levels over the first 15 min of reperfusion after prolonged cardiac arrest tended to be unfavorable regarding survival and hemodynamic variables compared to a single-dose approach in this animal model.