'Postconditioning' the human heart: Multiple balloon inflations during primary angioplasty may confer cardioprotection

Chad E. Darling, Patrick B. Solari, Craig S. Smith, Mark I. Furman, Karin Przyklenk

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86 Scopus citations


Growing evidence from experimental models suggests that relief of myocardial ischemia in a stuttering manner (i.e., 'postconditioning' [PostC] with brief cycles of reperfusion-reocclusion) limits infarct size. However, the potential clinical efficacy of PostC has, to date,been largely unexplored. Using a retrospective study design, our aim was to test the hypothesis that creatine kinase release (CK: clinical surrogate of infarct size) would be attenuated in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients requiring multiple balloon inflations-deflations during primary angioplasty versus STEMI patients who received minimal balloon inflations and/or direct stenting. To investigate this concept, we reviewed the records of all STEMI patients with single vessel occlusion who presented to our institution from November 2004 - April 2006 for primary angioplasty. Exclusion criteria were: previous MI, cardiogenic shock, patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest, or pre-infarct angina. Patients were prospectively divided into two subsets: those receiving 1-3 balloon inflations (considered the minimum range to achieve patency and stent placement) versus those in whom 4 or more inflations were applied. Peak CK release was significantly lower in patients requiring ≥4 versus 1-3 inflations (1655 versus 2272 IU/L; p<0.05), an outcome consistent with the concept that relief of sustained ischemia in a stuttered manner (analogous to postconditioning) may evoke cardioprotection in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)274-278
Number of pages5
JournalBasic Research in Cardiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Angioplasty
  • Infarct size
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Reperfusion injury


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