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Effects of remote ischemic preconditioning in high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery (Remote IMPACT): a randomized controlled trial [Research]

Background:

Remote ischemic preconditioning is a simple therapy that may reduce cardiac and kidney injury. We undertook a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of this therapy on markers of heart and kidney injury after cardiac surgery.

Methods:

Patients at high risk of death within 30 days after cardiac surgery were randomly assigned to undergo remote ischemic preconditioning or a sham procedure after induction of anesthesia. The preconditioning therapy was three 5-minute cycles of thigh ischemia, with 5 minutes of reperfusion between cycles. The sham procedure was identical except that ischemia was not induced. The primary outcome was peak creatine kinase–myocardial band (CK-MB) within 24 hours after surgery (expressed as multiples of the upper limit of normal, with log transformation). The secondary outcome was change in creatinine level within 4 days after surgery (expressed as log-transformed micromoles per litre). Patient-important outcomes were assessed up to 6 months after randomization.

Results:

We randomly assigned 128 patients to remote ischemic preconditioning and 130 to the sham therapy. There were no significant differences in postoperative CK-MB (absolute mean difference 0.15, 95% confidence interval [CI] –0.07 to 0.36) or creatinine (absolute mean difference 0.06, 95% CI –0.10 to 0.23). Other outcomes did not differ significantly for remote ischemic preconditioning relative to the sham therapy: for myocardial infarction, relative risk (RR) 1.35 (95% CI 0.85 to 2.17); for acute kidney injury, RR 1.10 (95% CI 0.68 to 1.78); for stroke, RR 1.02 (95% CI 0.34 to 3.07); and for death, RR 1.47 (95% CI 0.65 to 3.31).

Interpretation:

Remote ischemic precnditioning did not reduce myocardial or kidney injury during cardiac surgery. This type of therapy is unlikely to substantially improve patient-important outcomes in cardiac surgery. Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov, no. NCT01071265.

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