Remote Ischemic Preconditioning Protects the Brain Against Injury After Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest
Background—Ischemic preconditioning (IPC) is a mechanism protecting tissues from injury during ischemia and reperfusion. Remote IPC (RIPC) can be elicited by applying brief periods of ischemia to tissues with ischemic tolerance, thus protecting vital organs more susceptible to ischemic damage. Using a porcine model, we determined whether RIPC of the limb is protective against brain injury caused by hypothermic circulatory arrest (HCA).
Methods and Results—Twelve piglets were randomized to control and RIPC groups. RIPC was induced in advance of cardiopulmonary bypass by 4 cycles of 5 minutes of ischemia of the hind limb. All animals underwent cardiopulmonary bypass followed by 60 minutes of HCA at 18°C. Brain metabolism and electroencephalographic activity were monitored for 8 hours after HCA. Assessment of neurological status was performed for a week postoperatively. Finally, brain tissue was harvested for histopathological analysis.
Study groups were balanced for baseline and intraoperative parameters. Brain lactate concentration was significantly lower (P<0.0001, ANOVA) and recovery of electroencephalographic activity faster (P<0.05, ANOVA) in the RIPC group. RIPC had a beneficial effect on neurological function during the 7-day follow-up (behavioral score; P<0.0001 versus control, ANOVA). Histopathological analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in cerebral injury in RIPC animals (injury score; mean [interquartile range]: control 5.8 [3.8 to 7.5] versus RIPC 1.5 [0.5 to 2.5], P<0.001, t test).
Conclusions—These data demonstrate that RIPC protects the brain against HCA-induced injury, resulting in accelerated recovery of neurological function. RIPC might be neuroprotective in patients undergoing surgery with HCA and improve long-term outcomes. Clinical trials to test this hypothesis are warranted.
- Received August 30, 2010.
- Accepted November 19, 2010.
- © 2011 American Heart Association, Inc.