Changes in arterial blood flow of free flaps after the administration of sildenafil in swine

Microsurgery. 2011 Sep;31(6):465-71. doi: 10.1002/micr.20909. Epub 2011 May 31.


We evaluated blood flow changes after experimental free tissue transfer and the potential hemodynamic effect of sildenafil on the free flap. Sixteen swine were used for free transfer of a latissimus dorsi myocutaneous flap to the chest that was anastomosed to the internal mammary vessels, and were randomized into controls and study group. The latter received a single dose of sildenafil, 6 hours following flap revascularization. Doppler ultrasonography revealed that arterial flow was mainly systolic postoperatively. Diastolic flow patterns were gradually restored after the first postoperative day. Pulsatility index (PI) significantly increased and flow volume decreased in all animals postoperatively. In the sildenafil group, PI significantly decreased and flow volume increased, while diastolic flow patterns were restored earlier on compared to controls, postoperatively. In conclusion, the administration of sildenafil after free tissue transfer increases flow volume and facilitates the restoration of diastolic blood flow patterns in the early critical postoperative period.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arteries / drug effects
  • Arteries / physiology
  • Free Tissue Flaps / blood supply*
  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Purines / pharmacology
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects*
  • Sildenafil Citrate
  • Sulfones / pharmacology*
  • Swine
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology*


  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors
  • Piperazines
  • Purines
  • Sulfones
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • Sildenafil Citrate