Remote ischemic preconditioning of the heart: Combining lower limb ischemia and electronic stimulation oft he gastrocnemius muscle


BACKGROUND: Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) has been demonstrated to induce potent cardioprotection in individuals experiencing coronary ischemia. A protocol combining limb ischemia and electronic muscle stimulation of the ischemic skeletal muscle (RIPC+), performed in advance of coronary artery occlusion, was superior in terms of infarct size reduction when compared to RIPC alone. METHODS: This study was performed to evaluate the benefit of RIPC + in humans compared to a standard RIPC protocol and a control group. Patients with a single vessel coronary artery disease undergoing elective PCI were eligible to participate in this study. ST-segment elevations from an intracoronary ECG during 3 brief episodes of coronary artery balloon occlusions/dilatation were used as the primary endpoint. RESULTS: ST-elevations significantly declined from the first to the third angioplasty in the control but remained at the same level in the RIPC and RIPC+groups. The RIPC group was characterized by the lowest ST-segment shift during coronary ischemia, which was comparable to coronary balloon occlusion number 3 in the control group, indicating successful preconditioning by the conventional RIPC method. In contrast, ST segment elevations were significantly higher in the RIPC + group. Troponin levels taken 24 h after the study procedure were significantly lower in the RIPC when compared to the control and the RIPC + group.
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