Research Article

Complement activation during cardiopulmonary bypass: quantitative study of effects of methylprednisolone and pulsatile flow.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983; 287 doi: (Published 10 December 1983) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1983;287:1747
  1. M J Boscoe,
  2. V M Yewdall,
  3. M A Thompson,
  4. J S Cameron


    Forty four patients undergoing open heart surgery were divided into three groups. Group 1 (17 patients) underwent routine anaesthesia and surgery; group 2 (17 patients) received two doses of methylprednisolone (30 mg/kg), one during induction of anaesthesia and the other immediately before induction of cardiopulmonary bypass; and group 3 (10 patients) received pulsatile flow while undergoing pulsatile perfusion by the heart-lung machine. A modification of the previously described technique was used to detect and measure complement activation in plasma before and during the bypass period using crossed immunoelectrophoresis. About 45% of all patients showed measurable complement activation (greater than 4.5%) during cardiopulmonary bypass and the mean activation in this group was 6.4%. There was no significant difference between the three groups in complement activation. In group 2, however, women showed significantly more complement activation than men (p less than 0.05). It is suggested that neither corticosteroids nor pulsatile flow affect complement activation, but caution should be exercised in women receiving methylprednisolone.