Objective: Haemolysis has long been recognized as one of the responses to cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). Pentoxifylline (PTX), a methylxanthine derivative, has been known for many years for its haemorrheological properties. In this prospective, randomized study, we investigated whether a PTX treatment would reduce the haemolysis during CPB.
Methods: The effect of PTX treatment on haemolysis during CPB was studied in 25 patients (PTX group). Oral PTX (1200 mg/day in 3 divided doses) treatment for 3 days was followed by 300 mg i.v. PTX administration after anaesthesia induction. The control group consisted of 25 patients with equivalent surgery but no PTX treatment. Blood samples were collected at seven time points: prior to CPB, at 5 and 10 min of CPB and 5, 10 and 15 min after removal of cross clamping and 10 min after weaning from bypass in order to measure the haemolysis parameters, which included free haemoglobin and haptoglobin.
Results: PTX-treatment caused statistically significant decrements in plasma free haemoglobin levels during CPB. On the other hand, plasma haptoglobin levels stayed higher in PTX-medicated patients during the CPB as compared to control subjects.
Conclusions: These findings suggested that PTX may be an effective agent in reducing the haemolysis during CPB.