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Signa Vitae

Journal of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

Intracoronary administration of levosimendan in patients with acute coronary syndromes and decreased left ventricular ejection fraction undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery


In cardiac surgery patients, intracoronary (IC) administration of levosimendan can provide optimal drug spread, enabling effective manifestation of favorable drug effects and avoiding potentially harmful systemic hypotension. This could be beneficial in acute coronary syndromes (ACS) with decreased left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). We present ten cases of IC administration of levosimendan in ACS manifested as ST segment elevation myocardial infarction, non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction or unstable angina pectoris. All patients underwent coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, performed as an “off-pump” or “on-pump”/“off-clamp” procedure (latter one with the use of cardiopulmonary bypass on the beating heart). Levosimendan was administered as an IC bolus (125-250 μg) in each coronary artery graft (2-3 grafts). Intravenous (IV) levosimendan infusion continued (0.1-0.2 μg·kg-1·min-1) after graft placements (24-48 h), with IV infusion of norepinephrine (0.1 mg·ml-1), if needed. Cardiac function was assessed using LVEF (%) (Teicholz), thermodilution cardiac index (CI) (ml·m-2), and systemic vascular resistance (SVR) (dynes·sec·cm-5).

Nonparametric Wilcoxon signed-ranks test [presented as median (MED) with interquartile range (IQR)] indicated a significant difference between preoperative vs. immediate postoperative CI, SVR, and LVEF in all cases [2.2 (1.9-2.5) vs. 3.1 (2.9-3.4) ml·m-2, 1173.0 (1062.7-1278.2) vs. 882.5 (763.5-993.0) dynes·sec·cm-5, 44.5 (36.0-46.7) vs. 53.5 (45.7-59.2) %, respectively] (P=0.005), i.e. IC administration of levosimendan was associated with prompt improvement of intraoperative hemodynamics and cardiac contractility. IC administration of levosimendan may be a promising alternative method for improving decreased cardiac function in acute cardiac ischemia, besides necessary surgical revascularization.

Key words: levosimendan, intracoronary, acute coronary syndromes, CABG surgery

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Levosimendan in acute heart failure


Numerous adverse effects and an increased mortality are the reasons why many clinicians are often unsuccessful with the inotropic agents presently in use. New therapeutic agents have been developed in the last few years to assist the clinician in the stabilization, support and treatment of cardiovascular disease.
One of the newest groups of inotropic agents is a group of agents, which increase the affinity of myofibrils for calcium and are called calcium sensitizers. Calcium sensitizers are the newest heterogeneous group of inotropic agents. The best known representatives of this group are levosimendan and pimobendan. Positive inotropic effects of levosimendan are achieved by its binding to troponin C and calcium, thereby stabilizing the tropomyosin molecule and prolonging the duration of actinmyosin overlap without a change in the net concentration of intracellular calcium. The vasodilatory effect of levosimendan is reached through activation of ATP-dependent potassium channels. This leads to a decrease in both afterload and preload, increased coronary blood flow and a resultant anti-ischemic effect. Levosimendan is therefore categorized as an antiischemic inotropic agent. Furthermore, experiments have confirmed that levosimendan as an opener of KATP – channels in the mitochondria and the sarcolemma of myocites may have an effect on the myocardium preconditioning

Key words: levosimendan, inotropic state, preconditioning, low cardiac output syndrome

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Vasoactive Agents


This article is a short review of vasoactive drugs which are in use in todays clinical practice. In the past century, development of vasoactive drugs went through several phases. All of these drugs are today divided into several groups, depending on their place of action, pharmacological pathways and/or effects on target organ or organ system. Hence, many different agents are today in clinical practice, we have shown comparison between them. These agents provide new directions in the treatment of cardiovascular compromise, suggesting that the primary goal of therapy is to produce a vasodilatory effect of the circulation rather than to reverse hemodynamic failure by using inotropic agents, with their inherent risks and side effects.

Key words: vasoactive agents, inotropic agents, levosimendan, phosphodiesterase III inhibitors

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