Protective effect of hydrogen (H(2)) gas on cardiac ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury has been demonstrated previously. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that hydrogen-rich saline (saline saturated with molecular hydrogen), which is easy to use, induces cardioprotection against ischemia (30 min) and reperfusion (24 h) injury in rats. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent 30-min occlusion of the left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery and 24-h reperfusion. Intraperitoneal injection of hydrogen-rich saline before reperfusion significantly decreased plasma and myocardium malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration, decreased cardiac cell apoptosis, and myocardial 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) in area at risk zones (AAR), suppressed the activity of caspase-3, and reduced infarct size. The heart function parameters including left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP), left ventricular diastolic pressure (LVDP), +(dP/dt)(max) and -(dP/dt)(max) were also significantly improved 24 h after reperfusion. It is concluded that hydrogen-rich saline is a novel, simple, safe, and effective method to attenuate myocardial I/R injury.