Background: BioGlue-a surgical adhesive composed of bovine albumin and glutaraldehyde-is commonly used in cardiovascular operations. The objectives of this study were to determine whether BioGlue injures nerves and cardiac conduction tissues, and whether a water-soluble gel barrier protects against such injury. Materials and methods: In 18 pigs, diaphragmatic excursion during direct phrenic nerve stimulation was measured at baseline and at 3 and 30 min after nerve exposure to albumin (n = 3), glutaraldehyde (n = 3), BioGlue (n = 6), or water-soluble gel followed by BioGlue (n = 6). Additionally, BioGlue was applied to the cavoatrial junction overlying the sinoatrial node (SAN), either alone (n = 12) or after application of gel (n = 6). Results: Mean diaphragmatic excursions in the BioGlue and glutaraldehyde groups were lower at 3 min and 30 min than in the albumin group (P < 0.05). Mean excursions in the gel group were similar to those of the albumin group (P = 0.9). Five BioGlue pigs (83%) and one gel pig (17%) had diaphragmatic paralysis by 30 min (P < 0.05 and P = 0.3 versus albumin, respectively). Coagulation necrosis extended into the myocardium at the cavoatrial junction in all 12 BioGlue pigs but only two gel pigs (33%, P < 0.01). Two BioGlue pigs (17%), but no gel pigs, had focal SAN degeneration and persistent bradycardia (P < 0.01). Conclusions: BioGlue causes acute nerve injury and myocardial necrosis that can lead to SAN damage. A water-soluble gel barrier is protective.
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