A pilot study investigating the effects of remote ischemic preconditioning in high-risk cardiac surgery using a randomised controlled double-blind protocol
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The efficacy of remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) in high-risk cardiac surgery is uncertain. In this study, 96 adults undergoing high-risk cardiac surgery were randomised to RIPC (3 cycles of 5 min of upper-limb ischemia induced by inflating a blood pressure cuff to 200 mmHg with 5 min of reperfusion) or control. Main endpoints were plasma high-sensitivity troponin T (hsTNT) levels at 6 and 12 h, worst post-operative acute kidney injury (AKI) based on RIFLE criteria, and noradrenaline duration. hsTNT levels were log-normally distributed and higher with RIPC than control at 6-h post cross-clamp removal [810 ng/ml (IQR 527–1,724) vs. 634 ng/ml (429–1,012); ratio of means 1.41 (99.17% CI 0.92–2.17); P=0.04] and 12 h [742 ng/ml (IQR 427–1,700) vs. 514 ng/ml (IQR 356–833); ratio of means 1.56 (99.17% CI 0.97–2.53); P=0.01]. After adjustment for baseline confounders, the ratio of means of hsTNT at 6 h was 1.23 (99.17% CI 0.88–1.72; P=0.10) and at 12 h was 1.30 (99.17% CI 0.92–1.84; P=0.05). In the RIPC group, 35/48 (72.9%) had no AKI, 5/48 (10.4%) had AKI risk, and 8/48 (16.7%) had either renal injury or failure compared to the control group where 34/48 (70.8%) had no AKI, 7/48 (14.6%) had AKI risk, and 7/48 (14.6%) had renal injury or failure (Chi-squared 0.41; two degrees of freedom; P = 0.82). RIPC increased post-operative duration of noradrenaline support [21 h (IQR 7–45) vs. 9 h (IQR 3–19); ratio of means 1.70 (99.17% CI 0.86–3.34); P=0.04]. RIPC does not reduce hsTNT, AKI, or ICU-support requirements in high-risk cardiac surgery.