In a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study, the effects of intravenous glutamate infusion on myocardial haemodynamics and metabolism were studied in 22 patients undergoing routine coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Immediately after aortic cross-clamp release, an intravenous infusion of a solution of glutamate (125mmolċl-1) at a rate of 1.5mlċh-1ċkg-1 was given over 1h to 11 patients (G group). The other 11 patients received a placebo infusion (0.9% NaCl) (P group). Haemodynamic functions and rates of exchange of glucose, non-esterified fatty acids and lactic acid over the heart were measured before sternotomy (T1), 40min after cross-clamp release (T2) and 4h after cross-clamp release (T3). At T2, decreases were seen in comparison with T1 in systemic vascular resistance index, and increases were seen in cardiac index and coronary sinus flow. All of these changes were greater in the G group than in the P group (P < 0.05). Myocardial glutamate consumption increased 2-fold after glutamate administration. No significant changes were observed in the myocardial utilization of glucose, lactate or non-esterified fatty acids between the P and the G groups at T1, T2 or T3. These data show that an intravenous glutamate infusion after routine CABG surgery significantly improved cardiac haemodynamic performance without direct effects on cardiac substrate metabolism. This suggests that a reduction of the afterload via a peripheral vasodilatory effect is the main mechanism leading to the observed changes in haemodynamics. Earlier claims that patients with post-operative cardiac failure show metabolic benefits from the glutamate infusion do not seem to apply to patients undergoing routine CABG surgery.

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