Vasoplegia often complicates on-pump cardiac surgery. Systemic inflammatory response induced by extracorporeal circulation represents the major determinant, but adrenal insufficiency and postoperative vasopressin deficiency may have a role. Pathophysiological meaning of perioperative changes in endocrine markers of hydro-electrolyte balance has not still fully elucidated. Objectives of the present research study were to estimate the incidence of vasoplegia in a homogeneous cohort of not severe cardiopathic patients, to define the role of presurgical adrenal insufficiency, to evaluate copeptin and NT-proBNP trends in the perioperative.
We conducted a prospective cohort study in the cardiac intensive care unit of a tertiary referral center. We evaluated 350 consecutive patients scheduled for cardiac surgery; 55 subjects completed the study. Both standard and low-dose corticotropin stimulation tests were performed in the preoperative; copeptin and NT-proBNP were evaluated in the preoperative (T0), on day 1 (T1) and day 7 (T2) after surgery.
Nine subjects (16.3%) developed vasoplegic syndrome with longer bypass and clamping time (p < 0.001). Reduced response to low-dose ACTH test was not associated to vasoplegia. Preoperative copeptin > 16.9 pmol/L accurately predicted the syndrome (AUC 0.86, 95% CI 0.73–0.94; OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04–1.32). An evident correlation was observed at 7 days postoperative between NT-proBNP and copeptin (r 0.88, 95% CI 0.8–0.93; p < 0.001).
Preoperative impaired response to low-dose ACTH stimulation test is not a risk factor for post-cardiotomic vasoplegia; conversely, higher preoperative copeptin predicts the complication. On-pump cardiac surgery could be an interesting model of rapid heart failure progression.