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February 1965

Biochemical and Electrocardiographic Effects of Hypocarbia: Studies During Extracorporeal Circulation

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Research Laboratories of the State University of New York at Buffalo and the E. J. Meyer Memorial Hospital.

Arch Surg. 1965;90(2):290-293. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1965.01320080114024

PREVIOUS reports have demonstrated the frequent occurrence of acute hypocarbia with resultant biochemical changes during extracorporeal circulation2 and in association with artificial ventilation during and after operation.2,6,7 Attention has recently been directed to the relationship between these changes, specifically the marked decrease in serum potassium levels, and abnormalities in cardiac rhythm occurring intra- and postoperatively.6 The well known effect of hypokalemia upon the development of digitalis intoxication5,8 is of primary importance in this respect.

Since the degree of hypocarbia which can be induced by hyperventilation at conventional levels is limited, it was felt that it would be useful to determine whether these biochemical abnormalities would be further increased by induction of more severe hypocarbia and whether electrocardiographic changes secondary to hypokalemia would be induced. A series of experiments was therefore carried out in animals in which extreme degrees of carbon dioxide "washout" were induced by use

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