Limb ischemic preconditioning reduces heart and lung injury after an open heart operation in infants

Pediatr Cardiol. 2010 Jan;31(1):22-9. doi: 10.1007/s00246-009-9536-9. Epub 2009 Sep 29.


Open heart surgery supported by cardiopulmonary bypass is associated with heart and lung ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Limb remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) reduces injury caused by ischemia-reperfusion in multiple distant organs. We conducted a prospective clinical trial (randomized and controlled) to test the feasibility and safety of limb RIPC, as well as its protective effects against myocardial and pulmonary IRI for infants undergoing repair of simple congenital heart defects. Infants undergoing repair of ventricular septal defects were enrolled in our study and randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups: limb RIPC or control. RIPC was induced twice (24 h and 1 h preoperatively) via three 5-min cycles of ischemia and reperfusion on the left upper arm using a blood pressure cuff. Lung compliance, respiratory index (RI), and cardiac inotropic score (IS) were calculated for each patient. Serum concentrations of the following factors were measured perioperatively: interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha; lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), creatine kinase (CK), and its isoenzyme (CK-MB), and troponin I (TnI); malondialdehyde (MDA) and superoxide dismutase (SOD). The expression of heat shock protein 70 (HSP 70) in cardiomyocytes was analyzed by Western blot. Surgical outcomes, including limb movement and sensory function, were recorded in detail. Sixty infants weighting less than 7 kg were studied, with 30 patients in the RIPC group and 30 in the control group. Within 6 months of discharge from the hospital, no limb disability, sensory disturbance, or other surgical complications were found in any patient. Compared with the control group, patients in the RIPC group had higher Cs and Cd, along with lower RI and IS at various postoperative phases. At the beginning of the operation, serum concentrations of IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, TNF-alpha, LDH, CK, and TnI were higher in the RIPC group than the control group. Postoperatively, release of cytokines and leakage of heart enzymes were attenuated in the RIPC group; serum concentrations of cytokines and heart enzymes were lower in the RIPC group at some, but not all, postoperative time points. Furthermore, the RIPC group had lower coronary sinus venous concentrations of MDA and higher concentrations of SOD. Similarly, the expression of HSP 70 was upregulated in cardiomyocytes from the RIPC group. Limb RIPC can be applied safely and easily in infants, can attenuate systemic inflammatory response syndrome, and can increase systemic tolerance to IRI, imparting a protective effect against myocardial and pulmonary IRI. The expression of HSP 70 has an important role in the mechanism of action for RIPC.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Bypass* / adverse effects
  • Extremities / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Heart Septal Defects, Ventricular / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Ischemic Preconditioning*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*