Clinical outcomes of cardiac surgery are influenced by genetics of inflammatory mediators

Open heart surgery usually requires a cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) pump to manage blood circulation while the heart is stopped for repair. Use of the pump and the surgery itself can cause inflammation and, although some inflammation is needed for the wound to heal, too much can prolong organ dysfunction and recovery time in hospital. The intensity of inflammation after surgery varies substantially among individuals. Age of the patient, pre-surgery health and the amount of time on the pump are factors, but they do not fully account for the differences. There is evidence indicating that genetic factors may contribute to a greater susceptibility to infection and inflammation following cardiac surgery. David Shaw is researching whether two types of cytokines (hormone-like proteins) affect the severity of inflammation following cardiac surgery. These proteins, interleukin 18 and interleukin 10, have been implicated in complications from cardiac surgery. Identifying the genes involved in inflammation may lead to the development of new therapies to improve prognosis and treatment of inflammation.