October 23, 2015 – Ischemic Preconditioning


Anchor lead: Can temporarily restricting blood flow improve outcomes from heart surgery? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Ischemic preconditioning is the insider trader term for temporarily restricting blood flow to the heart prior to heart surgery with an eye toward improving outcomes, a strategy that has proven successful in animal models but was panned in a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine.  David Kass, a cardiologist and basic science researcher at Johns Hopkins, says not so fast.

Kass: They’re creating some sort of so-called ischemic preconditioning but they’re not doing it in the coronary artery they’re doing it in the peripheral arm, which is obviously not invasive, and then there’s supposed to be stuff, even though you’re doing it in your arm, that somehow is more diffuse, and that is now going to protect your heart.  That’s the concept.   :22

Kass suggests a possible modification.

Kass:  You could have imagined doing it in a cath lab to someone, where they’re there, you blow up the balloon, your occlude the coronary for five minutes, then you release it, then you blow it up again for five minutes, that’s classic coronary preconditioning.  :11

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.