The impact of acute myocardial edema on coronary flow and left ventricular performance was studied in isolated isovolumic rat hearts. After 15 min of aortic perfusion with Krebs-Henseleit buffer, hearts (10/group) were either removed for determination of water content or perfused for another 90 min. Three groups were perfused at a constant pressure of 60, 100, or 140 mmHg, and two groups were perfused at 60 or 140 mmHg with adenosine added. Compared with the 15-min group, there was a significant increase in water content in all groups except the 60-mmHg group (P < 0.005). There was a direct linear relationship between increases in coronary vascular resistance over time and water content (P < 0.0001). A decrease in developed pressure and peak +dP/dt was observed only in those groups that accumulated water. An inverse linear relationship was found between changes in developed pressure and water content (P = 0.0001). Water content had no effect on end-diastolic pressure below 5 ml/g; above 5 ml/g, a direct linear relationship was evident (P = 0.009). The results suggest that myocardial edema increases vascular resistance and decreases systolic performance. End-diastolic pressure is less influenced by edema than either systolic or coronary vascular function.
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