AIM: Hypoperfusion of peripheral tissues and splanchnic organs during cardiac surgery in extracorporeal circulation may lead to the origin of serious complications. The aim of the study was to monitor metabolism and blood pressure in interstital peripheral tissue, skeletal muscle, during the operation on the patient with extracorporeal circulation (ECC) in an early post-operation period by means of microdialysis. METHODS: The interstitial microdialysis is a minimally invasive method for the biochemical monitoring of metabolic changes and blood pressure in extracellular space of tissue. The substances in interstitium pass across a semipermeable membrane of the inserted microdialysis probe and may be analyzed. Microdialysis in this study was performed by means of two microdialysis probes CMA (CMA Microdialysis AB, Sweden) inserted into the deltoid muscle of the surgically treated patient. The probes were perfused by the Ringer solution at the rate of 0.3 ml/hour. The dialysates were sampled in the following intervals: beginning of the operation, beginning of ECC, end of ECC, end of the operation, two hours during the post-operation period. Standard biochemical methods were to evaluate, in the dialysates, glucose, urea, glycerol and lactate. The blood flow in the interstitium was monitored by means of dynamic microdialysis of gentamycine as a marker. Microdialysis was performed in 40 patients with ischemic heart disease, operated on in the extracorporeal circulation. In 20 patients the ECC was performed in normothermia (NT), while in the other 20 patients it was made in hypothermia (HT). RESULTS: In both groups, NT versus HT, a similar dynamism of interstitial concentration of the observed substances in relation to the operation phase and in early post-operation period. Low initial concentrations were gradually increasing during the extracorporeal circulation and increased further after the end of extracorporeal circulation and also in the subsequent phase of the operation. The concentration values of the analytes under observation were higher in the groups operated on under normothermia, apparently due to normal cellular activity during normothermia (versus values in hypothermia). Immediately after the operation the observed values decreased in the both groups and subsequently gradually increased in the post-operation period in the both groups. The trend of dynamic changes of the observed analytes, selected as compounds indicating metabolic activity of skeletal muscles during hypothermia documents a lower metabolic activity of the cells during hypothermia and its marked increase (against NT) in the phase of subsequent normalization of the tissue temperature. Analysis of the concentrations of lactate, as a compounds mapping anaerobic metabolism of skeletal muscle, revealed similar dynamic changes in the both groups (NT vs. HT). There were no significant differences, related to the phase of the operation or the phase of immediate post-operation course when the both groups were compared. The analysis of gentamycine concentrations as a flow marker revealed lower gentamycine concentrations in dialysate during the operation, ECC and the early post-operation course in the group operated on in normotheramia (vs. HT), indicating a higher tissue flow in skeletal muscle against the group of patients operated on under hypothermia. CONCLUSION: The results of the microdialysis study demonstrated dynamic changes in interstitial concentrations of the observed compounds (glucose, urea, glycerol and lactate) related to the phase of operation on the heart in extracorporeal circulation and in early post-operation period. A higher perfusion of skeletal muscle was documented in patients operated on under normothermia. It became obvious that the dynamism in the changes of the compounds observed in the interstitium of skeletal muscle was determined by metabolic activity of the tissue as well as by blood flow in the muscle interstitium.