Myocardial reperfusion injury-triggered by an inevitable inflammatory response after reperfusion-may undo a considerable part of the myocardial salvage achieved through timely percutaneous coronary intervention in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Because infarct size is strongly correlated to mortality and risk of heart failure, the importance of endeavors for cardioprotective therapies to attenuate myocardial reperfusion injury and decrease infarct size remains undisputed. Myocardial reperfusion injury is the result of several complex nonlinear phenomena, and for a therapy to be effective, it should act on multiple targets involved in this injury. In this regard, hypothermia remains a promising treatment despite a number of negative randomized controlled trials in humans with acute myocardial infarction so far. To turn the tide for hypothermia in patients with acute myocardial infarction, sophisticated solutions for important limitations of systemic hypothermia should continue to be developed. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of the pathophysiology and clinical expression of myocardial reperfusion injury and discuss the current status and possible future of hypothermia for cardioprotection in patients with acute myocardial infarction.
Keywords: hypothermia; myocardial infarction; percutaneous coronary intervention; reperfusion.