Coronary cyclic flow variations "precondition" ischemic myocardium.
BACKGROUND Repeated brief episodes of myocardial ischemia performed by mechanical clamping of a coronary artery "precondition" the heart and reduce infarct size after a subsequent sustained ischemia. It is not known, however, whether spontaneous episodes of transient ischemia caused by formation of platelet thrombi, which may occur in unstable angina, have a similar cardioprotective effect.
METHODS AND RESULTS Therefore, our objective was to determine whether brief spontaneous thrombotic episodes of ischemia/reperfusion could limit infarct size and preserve contractile function following 60 minutes (protocol 1) or 90 minutes (protocol 2) of sustained ischemia and 4-4.5 hours of reperfusion in the canine model. Before the sustained coronary occlusion, dogs underwent a 30-minute "treatment" period consisting of: no intervention (control group), four repeated episodes of 3-minute mechanical occlusion plus 5-minute reperfusion (preconditioned group), or coronary artery stenosis and endothelial injury, resulting in a mean of four spontaneous episodes of cyclic flow variations (CFV group) caused by formation and dislodgment of platelet thrombi. In protocol 1 (60-minute sustained ischemia plus 4.5-hour reperfusion), infarct size was significantly smaller in both the preconditioned and CFV groups compared with controls (3.5 +/- 1.4%,* 3.4 +/- 2.1%,* and 9.9 +/- 2.7% of the myocardium at risk, respectively; *p less than 0.05 versus control). In contrast, neither preconditioning nor CFV preserved contractile function: Segment shortening during sustained occlusion was equally depressed at -15% to -20% of baseline values among the three groups and equally stunned at +12% to +18% of baseline during the 4.5 hours of reflow. In protocol 2 (90-minute sustained ischemia plus 4-hour reperfusion), only CFV continued to exert a cardioprotective effect: Infarct size averaged 15.0 +/- 4.1%, 7.4 +/- 2.5%,* and 16.5 +/- 4.4% of the region at risk in the preconditioned, CFV, and control groups, respectively (*p less than 0.05 versus control). Contractile function, however, was similar among all three groups both during 90 minutes of sustained occlusion and throughout 4 hours of reperfusion.
CONCLUSIONS We therefore conclude that repeated coronary thrombus formation preconditions the ischemic myocardium: In fact, in contrast to mechanical preconditioning, cardioprotection provided by CFV persisted following 90 minutes of sustained coronary occlusion. However, preconditioning by thrombotic or mechanical occlusion neither preserved myocardial contractile function during sustained coronary occlusion nor prevented stunning after reperfusion. These data raise the possibility that clinical episodes of unstable angina prior to acute myocardial infarction may precondition the ischemic myocardium.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association