Background: Cardiopulmonary bypass-related myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury is a major contributor to postoperative morbidity. Although transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) has been found to have cardioprotective effects in animal studies and healthy volunteers, its effects on cardiac surgery under cardiopulmonary bypass patients have not been evaluated. We investigated the effects of TENS on myocardial protection in patients undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass. Methods: Thirty patients were randomized to receive TENS or sham in three different anesthetic states – pre-anesthesia, sevoflurane, or propofol (each n = 5). TENS was applied with a pulse width of 385 μs and a frequency of 10 Hz using two surface electrodes at the upper arm for 30 min. Sham treatment was provided without stimulation. The primary outcome was the difference in myocardial infarct size following ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat hearts perfused with pre- and post-TENS plasma dialysate obtained from the patients using Langendorff perfusion system. The cardioprotective effects of TENS were determined by assessing reduction in infarct size following treatment. Results: There were no differences in myocardial infarct size between pre- and post-treatment in any group (41.4 ± 4.3% vs. 36.7 ± 5.3%, 39.8 ± 7.3% vs. 27.8 ± 12.0%, and 41.6 ± 2.2% vs. 37.8 ± 7.6%; p = 0.080, 0.152, and 0.353 in the pre-anesthesia, sevoflurane, and propofol groups, respectively). Conclusions: In our study, TENS did not show a cardioprotective effect in patients undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery. Trial registration: This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03859115, on March 1, 2019).
- Aortic valve replacement
- Cardiac surgery
- Ischemia reperfusion injury
- Myocardial protection
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation