Comparison of the pretreatment effects of mixed vasodilators (3-D solution) on radial and internal thoracic arteries by using a 3-dimensional anaglyph electron microscope technique

Heart Surg Forum. 2006;9(3):E643-9. doi: 10.1532/HSF98.2006-1006.


Objective: Currently, internal thoracic arteries (ITA) and radial arteries (RA) are the first choice of conduits for coronary artery bypass grafts (CABG). Because the perioperative vasospasm continues to be a major problem, a number of pharmacologic agents such as papaverine, calcium receptor blockers, nitroglycerine, and phenoxybenzamine have been suggested as topical antispasmodics that may be used in the pre- and postoperative periods. In the present study, we investigated the quantitative efficacies of the mixed solution, which included verapamil, nitroglycerin, and papaverine, on RA and ITA using a scanning electron microscope with a 3-dimensional anaglyph technique.

Methods: Diameter changes of RA and ITA in response to clinically important vasodilators were measured on 40 RA and 40 ITA rings from patients who had been subjected to coronary artery bypass procedure after 20 minutes of ex vivo incubation with verapamil (45 microg/L), nitroglycerin (45 microg/L), papaverine solution (266 micromol/L or 0.1 micro/mL), and 30 mL autologous heparinized whole blood (individual patient's blood obtained before cardiopulmonary bypass contained 100 IU of heparin per kg of patient weight). The pretreatment action was assessed by measuring the response to vasodilators.

Results: In all cases, we did not observe graft vasospasm in any of the conduits during the intraoperative period between postanastomosis and sternal closure. In the postoperative period, we did not record any evidence of ischemic change in patients' electrocardiographic and myocardial enzyme analyses. None of the cases required inotropic support after the operation. The diameters of the pretreated RA and ITA were: minimum, 2.1 mm; maximum, 4.0 mm; and mean value, 2.80 +/- 0.46 mm. The diameters of the pretreated ITA were: minimum, 1.2 mm; maximum, 2.5 mm; and mean value, 1.76 +/- 0.35 mm. Incubated arterial segment diameters for the RA were: minimum, 2.8 mm; maximum, 5.2 mm; and mean value, 3.95 +/- 0.65 mm. These values for the ITA were: minimum, 1.5 mm; maximum, 3.9 mm; and mean value, 2.37 +/- 0.50 mm. These findings were statistically significant for both arterial grafts (P <.05).

Conclusions: According to our study findings, the mixed solution demonstrates a broad range of efficacy. We conclude that the described vasodilator solution with heparinized autologous blood seems to be very effective and may be used as a pretreatment agent in CABG conduits. Although papaverine has the shortest duration of action, its efficiency is increased by verapamil and nitroglycerin, in our opinion. To the best of our knowledge, high-quality imaging of CABG conduits with the 3-D anaglyph technique using a scanning electron microscope was a first in the literature. This technical approach may be used for confirming the ultrastructural anatomy and the quantitative vasodilator effects of arterial conduits. We believe that valuable anatomo-pathologic details of the CABG conduit can be obtained by this technique.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Bypass / instrumentation*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods
  • Male
  • Mammary Arteries / drug effects*
  • Mammary Arteries / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Radial Artery / drug effects*
  • Radial Artery / ultrastructure*
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods
  • Vasodilator Agents / administration & dosage*


  • Vasodilator Agents