Background: Ischaemic preconditioning has well-established cardiac and vascular protective effects. Short interventions (one week) of daily ischaemic preconditioning episodes improve conduit and microcirculatory function. This study examined whether a longer (eight weeks) and less frequent (three per week) protocol of repeated ischaemic preconditioning improves vascular function.
Methods: Eighteen males were randomly allocated to either ischaemic preconditioning (22.4 ± 2.3 years, 23.7 ± 3.1 kg/m(2)) or a control intervention (26.0 ± 4.8 years, 26.4 ± 1.9 kg/m(2)). Brachial artery endothelial-dependent (FMD), forearm cutaneous microvascular function and cardiorespiratory fitness were assessed at zero, two and eight weeks.
Results: A greater improvement in FMD was evident following ischaemic preconditioning training compared with control at weeks 2 (2.24% (0.40, 4.08); p=0.02) and 8 (1.11% (0.13, 2.10); p=0.03). Repeated ischaemic preconditioning did not change cutaneous microcirculatory function or fitness.
Conclusions: These data indicate that a feasible and practical protocol of regular ischaemic preconditioning episodes improves endothelial function in healthy individuals within two weeks, and these effects persist following repeated ischaemic preconditioning for eight weeks.
Keywords: Remote ischaemic preconditioning; cardiovascular risk; endothelial function; microcirculation; vascular adaptation.
© The European Society of Cardiology 2014.