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Arch Surg. 2001 Nov;136(11):1263-6.

Organ preconditioning.

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  • 1Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 E Ninth Ave, Campus Box C-320, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


The initial discovery of cardiac preconditioning has evolved into an exciting series of practical surgical applications. An enormous amount of evidence demonstrating both the safety and efficacy of ischemic preconditioning is available from animal studies. The challenging premise of intentionally subjecting patients and their organs to transient ischemia has acted as a formidable psychological and ethical impediment to the widespread clinical application of organ preconditioning. A more palatable alternative to ischemic preconditioning now involves approved medications designed to manipulate the cellular machinery mediating ischemic preconditioning. Pharmacologically induced preconditioning seems to confer equal organ protection. The relatively brief (but surgically relevant) window of protection provided by strategies such as ischemic preconditioning or adenosine agonists and potassium-adenosine triphosphate channel openers may, in the future, be extended. We have developed and reported the feasibility of liposomal delivery of heat shock protein to cardiac myocytes with subsequent protection against sepsis-induced dysfunction. Targeted strategies will ultimately broaden the therapeutic potential of organ preconditioning.

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