Cardioprotective role of remote ischemic periconditioning in primary percutaneous coronary intervention: enhancement by opioid action

JACC Cardiovasc Interv. 2010 Jan;3(1):49-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jcin.2009.10.015.


Objectives: We sought to determine the potential of remote ischemic periconditioning (RIPC), and its combination with morphine, to reduce reperfusion injury in primary percutaneous coronary interventions.

Background: Remote ischemic post-conditioning is implemented by applying cycles of ischemia and reperfusion on a remote organ, which result in release of circulating factors inducing the effects of post-conditioning on the myocardium.

Methods: A total of 96 patients (59 men) were enrolled. The patients were randomized to groups as follows: 33 to each treatment group (Group A: RIPC; Group B: RIPC and morphine) and 30 to the control group (Group C). Measures of efficacy were achievement of full ST-segment resolution (primary), and reduction of ST-segment deviation score and peak troponin I during hospitalization.

Results: A higher proportion of patients in Groups A (73%) and B (82%) achieved full ST-segment resolution after percutaneous coronary intervention, compared with control patients (53%) (p = 0.045). Peak troponin I was lowest in Group B, 103.3 +/- 13.3 ng/ml, in comparison to peak levels in Group A, 166.0 +/- 28.0 ng/ml, and the control group, 255.5 +/- 35.5 ng/ml (p = 0.0006). ST-segment deviation resolution was 87.3 +/- 2.7% in Group B, compared with 69.9 +/- 5.1% in Group A and 53.2 +/- 6.4% in the control group (p = 0.00002). In paired comparisons between groups, Group B did better than the control group in terms of both ST-segment reduction (p = 0.0001) and peak troponin I (p = 0.004), whereas Group A differences from the control group did not achieve statistical significance (p = 0.054 and p = 0.062, respectively).

Conclusions: These findings demonstrate a cardioprotective effect of RIPC and morphine during primary percutaneous coronary intervention for the prevention of reperfusion injury. This is in agreement with observations that the beneficial effect of RIPC is inhibited by the opioid receptor blocker naloxone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Angioplasty, Balloon, Coronary* / adverse effects
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Ischemic Preconditioning / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Morphine / administration & dosage
  • Morphine / therapeutic use*
  • Myocardial Infarction / therapy*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / blood
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / etiology
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Troponin I / blood
  • Upper Extremity / blood supply*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Biomarkers
  • Troponin I
  • Morphine