Pyruvate stabilizes electrocardiographic and hemodynamic function in pigs recovering from cardiac arrest

Brandon H. Cherry, Anh Q. Nguyen, Roger A. Hollrah, Arthur G. Williams, Besim Hoxha, Albert H. Olivencia-Yurvati, Robert T. Mallet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cardiac electromechanical dysfunction may compromise recovery of patients who are initially resuscitated from cardiac arrest, and effective treatments remain elusive. Pyruvate, a natural intermediary metabolite, energy substrate, and antioxidant, has been found to protect the heart from ischemia-reperfusion injury. This study tested the hypothesis that pyruvate-enriched resuscitation restores hemodynamic, metabolic, and electrolyte homeostasis following cardiac arrest. Forty-two Yorkshire swine underwent pacing-induced ventricular fibrillation and, after 6 min pre-intervention arrest, 4 min precordial compressions followed by transthoracic countershocks. After defibrillation and recovery of spontaneous circulation, the pigs were monitored for another 4 h. Sodium pyruvate or NaCl were infused i.v. (0.1 mmol·kg−1·min−1) throughout precordial compressions and the first 60 min recovery. In 8 of the 24 NaCl-infused swine, the first countershock converted ventricular fibrillation to pulseless electrical activity unresponsive to subsequent countershocks, but only 1 of 18 pyruvate-treated swine developed pulseless electrical activity (relative risk 0.17; 95% confidence interval 0.13–0.22). Pyruvate treatment also lowered the dosage of vasoconstrictor phenylephrine required to maintain systemic arterial pressure at 15–60 min recovery, hastened clearance of excess glucose, elevated arterial bicarbonate, and raised arterial pH; these statistically significant effects persisted up to 3 h after sodium pyruvate infusion, while infusion-induced hypernatremia subsided. These results demonstrate that pyruvate-enriched resuscitation achieves electrocardiographic and hemodynamic stability in swine during the initial recovery from cardiac arrest. Such metabolically based treatment may offer an effective strategy to support cardiac electromechanical recovery immediately after cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1774-1784
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • acidemia
  • bicarbonate
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • phenylephrine
  • pulseless electrical activity
  • ventricular fibrillation


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