Background: Management strategies for preoperative infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) include increased inspired nitrogen (hypoxia) and increased inspired carbon dioxide (hypercarbia). There are no studies directly comparing these 2 therapies in humans. This study compares the impact of hypoxia versus hypercarbia on oxygen delivery, under conditions of fixed minute ventilation.
Methods and results: Ten anesthetized and paralyzed preoperative infants with HLHS were evaluated in a prospective, randomized, crossover trial comparing hypoxia (17% FIO(2)) with hypercarbia (2.7% FICO(2)). Each patient was treated in a random order (10 minutes per condition) with a recovery period (15 to 20 minutes) in room air. Arterial (SaO(2)) and superior vena caval (SvO(2)) co-oximetry and cerebral oxygen saturation (ScO(2)) measurements were made at the end of each condition and recovery period. ScO(2) was measured by near infrared spectroscopy. Hypoxia significantly decreased both SaO(2) (-5.2+/-1.1%, P=0.0014) and SvO(2) (-5.6+/-1.7%, P=0.009) compared with baseline, but arteriovenous oxygen saturation (AVO(2)) difference (SaO(2)-SvO(2)) and ScO(2) remained unchanged. Hypercarbia decreased SaO(2) (-2.6+/-0.6%, P=0.002) compared with baseline but increased both ScO(2) (9.6+/-1.8%, P=0.0001) and SvO(2) (6+/-2.2%, P=0.022) and narrowed the AVO(2) difference (-8.5+/-2.3%, P=0.005). Both hypoxia and hypercarbia decreased the balance between pulmonary and systemic blood flow (Qp:Qs) compared with baseline.
Conclusions: In preoperative infants with HLHS, under conditions of anesthesia and paralysis, although Qp:Qs falls in both conditions, oxygen delivery is unchanged during hypoxia and increased during hypercarbia. These data cannot differentiate cerebral from systemic oxygen delivery.