International Perfusion Association


Custodiol Versus Blood Cardioplegia in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Background: Blood-based cardioplegia is the standard myocardial protection strategy in pediatric cardiac surgery. Custadiol (histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate), an alternative, may have some advantages but is potentially less effective at myocardial protection. This study aimed to test whether custadiol is not inferior to blood-based cardioplegia in pediatric cardiac surgery.

Methods: The study was designed as a randomized controlled trial with a blinded outcome assessment. All pediatric patients undergoing cardiac surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass and cardioplegia, including neonates, were eligible. Emergency surgery was excluded. The primary outcome was a composite of death within 30 days, an ICU stay longer than 5 days, or arrhythmia requiring intervention. Secondary endpoints included total hospital stay, inotropic score, cardiac troponin levels, ventricular function, and extended survival postdischarge. The sample size was determined a priori for a noninferiority design with an expected primary outcome of 40% and a clinical significance difference of 20%.

Results: Between January 2018 and January 2021, 226 patients, divided into the Custodiol cardioplegia (CC) group (n = 107) and the blood cardioplegia (BC) group (n = 119), completed the study protocol. There was no difference in the composite endpoint between the CC and BC groups, 65 (60.75%) vs. 71 (59.66%), respectively (P = 0.87). The total length of stay in the hospital was 14 (Q2-Q3: 10-19) days in the CC group vs. 13 (10-21) days in the BC group (P = 0.85). The inotropic score was not significantly different between the CC and BC groups, 5 (2.6-7.45) vs. 5 (2.6-7.5), respectively (P = 0.82). The cardiac troponin level and ventricular function did not differ significantly between the two groups (P = 0.34 and P = 0.85, respectively). The median duration of follow-up was 32.75 (Q2-Q3: 18.73-41.53) months, and there was no difference in survival between the two groups (log-rank P = 0.55).

Conclusions: Custodial cardioplegia is not inferior to blood cardioplegia for myocardial protection in pediatric patients. Trial registration The trial was registered in, and the Identifier number is NCT03082716 Date: 17/03/2017.

Keywords: Blood cardioplegia; Cardioplegia; Custadiol; Histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate.

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