Myocardial Damage Prevented by Volatile Anesthetics: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Study

Fabio Guarracino, Giovanni Landoni, Luigi Tritapepe, Francesca Pompei, Albino Leoni, Giacomo Aletti, Anna Mara Scandroglio, Daniele Maselli, Monica De Luca, Chiara Marchetti, Giuseppe Crescenzi, Alberto Zangrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of volatile anesthesia versus total intravenous anesthesia on cardiac troponin release in off-pump coronary artery bypass grafting (OPCAB). Design: The authors performed a multicenter randomized controlled study to compare cardiac troponin release in patients receiving either volatile anesthetics or total intravenous anesthesia for cardiac surgery on the beating heart, which is an excellent model of human myocardial ischemia. Setting: Three university hospitals. Participants: The authors randomly assigned 57 patients to desflurane (volatile anesthetic) and 55 patients to propofol (intravenous anesthetic) in addition to an opiate-based anesthesia for OPCAB. Interventions: The 2 groups of patients received either desflurane (volatile anesthetic) or propofol in addition to an opiate-based anesthesia for OPCAB. Peak postoperative troponin I release was measured as a marker of myocardial necrosis. Prolonged hospitalization was considered as a secondary outcome. Measurements and Main Results: Patient mean age was 69 years, and 82% were men. There was a significant (p <0.001) reduction in postoperative median (25th-75th percentiles) peak of troponin I in patients receiving volatile anesthetics, 1.2 (0.9-1.9) ng/dL, compared with patients receiving total intravenous anesthesia, 2.7 (2.1-4.0) ng/dL. This myocardial protection resulted in a reduced (p = 0.04) number (percentage) of patients requiring postoperative inotropes, 20 (35%) versus 31 (56%), and a reduced number (percentage) of patients submitted to prolonged hospitalization (≥7 days), 7 (12%) versus 20 (36%) in the 2 groups (p = 0.005). One patient receiving total intravenous anesthesia died within 30 days of surgery. Conclusions: Myocardial damage measured by cardiac troponin release could be reduced by volatile anesthetics during OPCAB. Because patients underwent cardiac surgery on the beating heart, these results could have implications for cardiac patients undergoing noncardiac surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • cardiac anesthesia
  • cardiac biomarker
  • coronary artery bypass grafting
  • off-pump
  • preconditioning
  • troponin
  • volatile anesthetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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