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A method of retrograde perfusion of the myocardium has been developed in dogs. It consists of a double lumen balloon-tipped catheter inserted transvenously into the coronary sinus, with one lumen connected to a roller pump, the other to a helium counterpulsing pump. Oxygenated heparinized blood is obtained from the femoral artery and pumped continuously into the coronary sinus at a pressure of 50-75 mm Hg. The balloon is inflated during diastole, sealing the coronary sinus and promoting retrograde flow, and is deflated during systole, allowing blood drainage into the right atrium and preventing venous congestion.
Thirteen anesthetized open-chest dogs were subjected to 15 minutes of proximal LAD artery occlusion and 30 minutes of diastolic coronary sinus perfusion (DCSP). The area of ischemia was mapped by means of platinum electrodes capable of simultaneously measuring myocardial tissue oxygen tension MpO2) and electrograms. Reduction of MpO2 with simultaneous elevation of the ST segment on the corresponding electrogram was considered an indication of ischemia. Diastolic coronary sinus perfusion improved myocardial oxygen tension in the ischemic myocardium, reduced ST segment elevation, and tended to restore arterial blood pressure. Histologically, there was no intramyocardial hemorrhage.