The pharmacokinetics of anesthetic drugs and adjuvants during cardiopulmonary bypass

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The institution of cardiopulmonary bypass during cardiac surgery has profound effects on the plasma concentration of drugs and thus their therapeutic effectiveness. These changes occur through acute hemodilution, altered plasma protein binding, hypotension, as well as the use of hypothermia and heparin administration. Isolation of the lungs from the circulation and the possible sequestration of drugs in the bypass circuit also affect drug plasma concentrations on bypass. The individual characteristics of the drug in question are also important in determining the final plasma concentration: Lipid soluble drugs with a high volume of distribution may be more readily taken up by bypass equipment, but the initial fall in concentration at the start of cardiopulmonary bypass may be more readily counteracted by back diffusion into plasma, if large tissue stores have accumulated. The extent of the drug's plasma protein binding is of importance as the effective free fraction in plasma for highly bound drugs will be sensitive to changes in plasma protein binding brought on by factors such as hemodilution, heparin administration as well as alpha, acid- glycoprotein binding. Clearly the fate of drugs administered before or on bypass is complex and can only be accurately determined by specific studies evaluating drug plasma concentrations. This review updates the available data on anesthetics and drugs used during cardiac surgery in order that anesthetists may predict better the likely effect of drugs administered before or during cardiopulmonary bypass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)261-273
Number of pages13
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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