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BACKGROUND: Cerebral injury is the most important complication of cardiac operations with cardiopulmonary bypass. Prolonged total circulatory arrest (TCA) can expose patients to an even greater risk of cerebral injury. We sought to detect the degree of cerebral injury in adults who had thoracic aortic operations with TCA by measuring S100B protein, which is released into the circulation after cerebral injury. METHODS: Serial measurements of S100B protein, a highly specific serum marker of astroglial damage, were performed in 26 patients who had complex aortic operations, of whom 13 required cardiopulmonary bypass alone (for aortic root replacement), and in 13 patients who required an additional period of TCA (for type A aortic dissections and arch aneurysms). Blood samples were taken preoperatively, at skin closure, and 5 and 24 hours postoperatively. RESULTS: There were significant increases in serum S100B concentrations in all patients, and peak levels occurred at skin closure. The magnitude of the increase in S100B was significantly greater at all postoperative time points and persisted longer in the TCA group. There was a significant correlation between the duration of the TCA and S100B concentration at 5 hours (r = 0.66, p = 0.01) and 24 hours (r = 0.63, p = 0.02) postoperatively. CONCLUSIONS: S100B levels were higher in all patients who had complex aortic operations and were significantly greater in patients requiring a period of TCA. The duration of the TCA period correlated with S100B levels 5 hours and at 24 hours postoperatively. Circumstantial evidence, in accordance with other studies, suggests that S100B protein is a marker for cerebral injury during cardiac operations.

Original publication




Conference paper

Publication Date





1225 - 1229


Adult, Aged, Aortic Diseases, Brain Damage, Chronic, Calcium-Binding Proteins, Female, Heart Arrest, Induced, Humans, Hypothermia, Induced, Intraoperative Complications, Male, Middle Aged, Monitoring, Intraoperative, Nerve Growth Factors, Postoperative Complications, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, S100 Calcium Binding Protein beta Subunit, S100 Proteins