Blood Pressure Cuff Before Heart Bypass Surgery Reduces Myocardial Damage Risk

A new study suggests the heart will be less prone to damage if a blood pressure cuff is inflated on the upper arm of a patient before the heart bypass surgery. The practice is called as “remote ischemic preconditioning” and it improves the long-term survival of the patient.

The mechanism involves cutting off of the blood supply temporarily and then resuming the supply to an area of the body that is little away from the heart. Usually left or right upper arm is preferred.

The study of this “remote ischemic preconditioning” was published in the August 17 issue of The Lancet magazine.

In heart bypass surgery and other complex heart procedures, damaging of the heart muscle is a common consequence and this further results in poorer long-term survival of the patient along with some associated health related problems like that of a heart attack, writes the journal.

The study was conducted on 162 patients having remote ischemic preconditioning ahead of their heart bypass surgery. The blood supply was restricted for about five minutes by inflating the cuff on their left upper arm and then the blood supply was let to resume for next five minutes. The process was repeated thrice and these patients were then compared to different 167 patients who were not followed this procedure before their similar surgery.

In the news release the study co-leader Professor Gerd Heusch, of University School of Medicine Essen in Germany, said “The results of our study are very encouraging that remote ischemic preconditioning not only reduces heart muscle injury but also improves long-term health outcomes for heart bypass patients, and we hope that these benefits will be confirmed in larger prospective studies which are currently taking place.”

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