Intermittent coronary sinus occlusion after coronary arterial ligation results in venous retroperfusion

R. Beyar, A. D. Guerci, H. R. Halperin, J. E. Tsitlik, M. L. Weisfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Coronary sinus occlusion retards necrosis of ischemic myocardium. To test the hypothesis that coronary sinus occlusion induces retrograde venoarterial flow, the coronary arteriovenous pressure gradient and the coronary arterial oxygen saturation were measured distal to a left anterior descending coronary artery ligature in dogs. In parallel, we constructed a mathematical model of known coronary physiology to characterize pressure and flow patterns during coronary sinus occlusion. In dogs, coronary sinus occlusion produced a systolic pressure gradient between the coronary artery and the coronary sinus of -20 ± 9 mm Hg (higher venous pressure, p < 0.0001) and a positive diastolic gradient of 3 ± 5 mm Hg (lower venous pressure p < 0.01). An average reduction in oxygen saturation in the ligated coronary artery of 20 ± 13% was also observed (p < 0.005) consequent to admixture of venous (desaturated) blood. By graded inflation of the coronary sinus balloon, it was demonstrated that desaturation of arterial blood typically occurs above a coronary sinus systolic pressure of 40-50 mm Hg. The mathematical model indicates the possibility of venoarterial pressure gradients and reversal of flow at the microcirculatory level during coronary sinus occlusion. These studies provide evidence that retrograde flow into the ischemic zone occurs in association with intermittent coronary sinus occlusion. Thus, alternating flow over the ischemic territory may be the mechanism of myocardial salvage during intermittent coronary sinus occlusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-707
Number of pages13
JournalCirculation research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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