Heart, Lung and Circulation
Current Review| Volume 14, ISSUE 1, P13-18, March 2005

Endothelial Function Related to Vascular Tone in Cardiac Surgery

  • Guo-Wei He
    Present address: Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Block B, 5A, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong. Tel.: +852 2645 0519; fax: +852 2645 1762.
    Department of Surgery, The Chinese University of Hong Kong & Wuhan Heart Institute, The Central Hospital, Wuhan, China

    Starr Academic Center, Providence Heart Institute, Department of Surgery, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, USA
    Search for articles by this author
      Vascular endothelium has multiple functions including regulating of vascular tone, preventing platelet aggregation, anti-proliferation, etc. An intact endothelial function is essential to the maintenance of an adequate vascular tone, to prevent platelet aggregation in the intimal surface of blood vessels, to prevent smooth muscle proliferation, and to prevent atherosclerosis.
      This review focuses on endothelial function related to the vascular tone in cardiac surgery. The review is composed by three sections. In the first section, normal endothelial function related to vascular tone is described. In the second section, coronary endothelial function related to cardiac arrest and cardioplegic exposure is reviewed. In the third section, the endothelial function in the coronary bypass grafts is summarised. It is particularly important to understand that coronary endothelial dysfunction may be one of the major causes of low perfusion of the myocardium after cardiac arrest or donor heart preservation. Further, endothelium plays a major role in the maintenance of vascular tone and in the long-term patency of CABG grafts. The characteristics of endothelium in arterial and venous grafts and the correlation to the long-term patency are now more understood. A number of methods have been suggested to protect endothelial function in either coronary circulation or in coronary artery bypass grafts during cardiac surgery but further investigations in this field are warranted.


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