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The foregoing experiments are presented with the object of clarifying the action of anesthetic drugs on myocardial function. Thus, direct cardiac effects of seven anesthetics were assessed in isolated hearts (heart-lung preparation). The drugs under investigation were the intravenous anesthetics hexobarbital, ketamine, and etomidate, and the volatile anesthetics diethyl ether, halothane, methoxyflurane, and enflurane. Moreover, myocardial adaptability to altered hemodynamic loads was studied under defined concentrations of each anesthetic. In a first series of experiments the physiologic basis of myocardial contractile dynamics was studied in this isolated heart preparation. Special attention was focused on methodological problems concerning the assessment of cardiac function and of basal myocardial inotropic state, e.g., determining cardiac function without simultaneous influence of extracardiac compensatory mechanisms.
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