DURING the past decade total or partial extracorporeal circulation has been developed to the extent that it permits repair of most lesions in and around the heart. The knowledge concerning the effect of extracorporeal circulation on the function of individual organs is unfortunately quite limited. Such information is required to understand why certain complications may occur after open-heart surgery. In addition it would provide a basis for future evaluation of technically improved methods of assisted circulation.
There are several studies of the effect of extracorporeal circulation on liver function.1-3 All of them have been directed towards the function of the hepatocytes. No attempts to evaluate the function of the Kupffer cells have been made to our knowledge. In a previous study it was shown that hepatic reticuloendothelial function is impaired following cardiopulmonary bypass in rats.4 The object of the present study was to explore the possible mechanisms responsible