The application of remote ischemic conditioning in cardiac surgery

Zeljko J. Bosnjak*, Zhi-Dong Ge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Perioperative myocardial ischemia and infarction are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality following anesthesia and surgery. The discovery of endogenous cardioprotective mechanisms has led to testing of new methods to protect the human heart. These approaches have included ischemic pre-conditioning, per-conditioning, post-conditioning, and remote conditioning of the myocardium. Pre-conditioning and per-conditioning include brief and repetitive periods of sub-lethal ischemia before and during prolonged ischemia, respectively; and post-conditioning is applied at the onset of reperfusion. Remote ischemic conditioning involves transient, repetitive, non-lethal ischemia and reperfusion in one organ or tissue (remote from the heart) that renders myocardium more resistant to lethal ischemia/reperfusion injury. In healthy, young hearts, many conditioning maneuvers can significantly increase the resistance of the heart against ischemia/reperfusion injury. The large multicenter clinical trials with ischemic remote conditioning have not been proven successful in cardiac surgery thus far. The lack of clinical success is due to underlying risk factors that interfere with remote ischemic conditioning and the use of cardioprotective agents that have activated the endogenous cardioprotective mechanisms prior to remote ischemic conditioning. Future preclinical research using remote ischemic conditioning will need to be conducted using comorbid models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number928
StatePublished - 2017


  • Cardioprotective agents
  • Ischemia
  • Reperfusion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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