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Restricting Blood Flow May Help Heart Bypass Patients
Date:8/18/2007

The technique reduces levels of protein linked to poor surgery results, study says

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In a potentially significant discovery for heart bypass patients, British researchers are reporting that limiting blood flow to an arm before surgery produced better results in a small trial of patients.

Restricting blood flow before surgery reduced levels of troponin T, a cardiac protein that is released into the bloodstream after injury to the heart and is associated with poor outcomes after surgery, the researchers said.

"If you remotely precondition the heart before surgery, you get significant protection," said study researcher Dr. Derek Yellon, of University College London's Hatter Cardiovascular Institute. "You can significantly reduce troponin T in patients undergoing bypass surgery."

"Remote preconditioning is a phenomena in which, if one deprives the blood supply to an organ or tissue, other than the heart, that initiates a protective mechanism on the heart," added study lead author Dr. Derek J. Hausenloy, also from the Hatter Cardiovascular Institute.

The findings are published in the Aug. 18 issue of The Lancet.

Heart bypass surgery is done to reroute -- or "bypass" -- blood around clogged arteries to improve blood flow and oxygen to the heart, according to the American Heart Association.

In the trial, the British researchers restricted blood supply to the heart by restricting blood flow in an arm. Yellon and Hausenloy studied 57 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery. Twenty-seven of the patients underwent heart preconditioning -- restrictions of blood flow -- before the operation.

Preconditioning consisted of three, five-minute cycles of restricting blood flow in one arm by inflating a blood pressure cuff that acted like a tourniquet. Between each cycle, the cuff was deflated.

Before and after surgery, the rese
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