Prophylactic use of pentoxifylline on inflammation in elderly cardiac surgery patients

Ann Thorac Surg. 2001 May;71(5):1524-9. doi: 10.1016/s0003-4975(01)02462-6.


Background: Inflammation plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of organ injury after cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Elderly patients appear to be especially prone to develop general inflammation. Use of pentoxifylline (PTX) before surgery may be a promising approach to minimize the negative effects of CPB in these patients.

Methods: In a prospective, randomized study, patients more than 80 years old undergoing aortocoronary artery bypass grafting received either PTX (n = 15) after induction of anesthesia (initial bolus of 300 mg followed by a continuous infusion of 1.5 during the next 2 days) or saline as placebo (control group; n = 15). Polymorphonuclear neutrophil (PMN) elastase, C-reactive protein (CRP), and interleukins (IL-6, IL-8, IL-10) were measured from arterial blood samples before surgery (T0), at the end of surgery (T1), 5 hours after surgery (T2), and at the morning of the first (T3) and second (T4) postoperative day.

Results: Postoperatively, PTX-treated patients less often needed catecholamines and were extubated earlier than the control patients (p < 0.05). On the intensive care unit, cardiac index inceased more in the PTX-treated (from 1.95 +/- 0.3 to 3.26 +/- 0.4 L.min(-1).m(-2)) than in the control patients (from 1.89 +/- 0.2 to 2.78 +/- 0.3 L.min(-1).m(-2)). Increase in CRP and PMN-elastase was significantly higher in the untreated control than in the PTX patients. After CPB, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 increased in both groups showing a significantly higher increase in the untreated control patients (IL-8 control: from 11.3 +/- 2.6 to 154.4 +/- 57 pg/mL [T1]); IL-8 PTX: from 10.9 +/- 2.7 to 71.8 +/- 23 pg/mL [T1]).

Conclusions: In elderly cardiac surgery patients, use of PTX before surgery and continued after CPB resulted in less inflammatory response than in an untreated control group. The value of attenuating the inflammatory process by PTX on outcome in this patient population needs to be evaluated in further controlled studies.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Retracted Publication

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass*
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Pentoxifylline / administration & dosage*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Premedication
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / prevention & control*


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Pentoxifylline