A randomized controlled trial of allopurinol in coronary bypass surgery

Am Heart J. 1991 Jan;121(1 Pt 1):20-4. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(91)90950-m.


A plethora of experimental evidence indicates that allopurinol reduces the formation of cytotoxic free radicals during myocardial ischemia and reperfusion. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of allopurinol on cardiac performance and early mortality after coronary bypass surgery. Allopurinol (n = 89) or placebo (n = 80) was administered to 169 patients before surgery. Randomization produced groups evenly matched for surgical risk factors. Hospital mortality rate in the placebo group was 14 of 80 (18%) in the allopurinol group 4 of 89 (4%), p = 0.014. Cardiac performance, scored by cardiac index and the need for ionotropic or mechanical support, was significantly better in the allopurinol group. More nonfatal complications occurred in the allopurinol group. When either a complication or death is termed an event, the proportion of events was equal in the two groups. No side effects were identified. We now administer allopurinol to all patients who are undergoing bypass surgery unless specifically contraindicated.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Allopurinol / therapeutic use*
  • Cause of Death
  • Coronary Artery Bypass* / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / mortality
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Disease / surgery
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Postoperative Period
  • Premedication


  • Allopurinol