BME News Highlights
May 5, 2009
Chemical found in medical devices impairs heart function
A BME researcher's personal experience after cardiac surgery motivated a
search for the cause of some common side effects of heart surgery. Artin
Shoukas, Ph.D. (left), professor of biomedical engineering, physiology and
anesthesiology and critical care medicine, found that after his coronary
bypass operation, his sense of taste was negatively altered. Loss of taste
and and short-term memory loss, as well as swelling and fatigue are common
complaints of coronary bypass patients. Shoukas and his colleague Caitlin
Thompson-Torgerson, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in anesthesiology and
critical care medicine, suspected the trigger for these side effects might
be a chemical compound of some kind. They found that a compound called cyclohexanone commonly used in the production of such medical plastic devices as intravenous (IV) bags and catheters can impair heart function in rats.
Rats given a solution containing cyclohexanone had weaker, slower heart
contractions. Also, the reflex that helps control and maintain blood
pressure is much less sensitive after cyclohexanone exposure. Finally, the
team observed increased fluid retention and swelling in the rats after
cyclohexanone injections. The next step is figuring out how these side
effects--decreased heart function and swelling--occur, and to what degree cyclohexanone is involved.
To read the entire Johns Hopkins Medicine news release:
View a video of a seminar Dr. Shoukas presented on the topic.
Posted: May 5, 2009