The cortisol response during heart-lung bypass.
The response patterns of plasma cortisol and plasma free cortisol have been studied in 20 consecutive patients undergoing cardiac surgery involving the use of heart-lung bypass. Sixteen consecutive patients undergoing closed mitral valvotomy have been used as controls. Total plasma cortisol levels fell at the onset of extracorporeal circulation (ECC) and did not rise significantly throughout the period of ECC. The peak cortisol level in the bypass patients occurred at 24 hours postoperatively with elevated levels still present at 48 hours. This pattern was significantly different from the control patients (P less than 0.001) who exhibited the typical cortisol stress response pattern. Synthetic ACTH stimulation of the adrenal cortex during heart-lung bypass produced a positive response (i.e., a rise in plasma cortisol greater than 7.5 mug/100 ml) in all six patients studied while the six mitral valvotomy patients had no response to synthetic ACTH administration during operation (P less than 0.01). Plasma free cortisol estimations indicate that a rapid and significant rise in % free cortisol occurred at the onset of ECC, but that despite the rise in percentage free, the overall plasma free cortisol concentration (i.e., total plasma cortisol X % free) was significantly lower during ECC in the bypass patients when compared with control (P less than 0.01). Twenty-four hours postoperatively these concentrations were significantly higher in the bypass patients (P less than 0.001).
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association