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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2004 May;286(5):H1603-7.

Cardiac pharmacological preconditioning with volatile anesthetics: from bench to bedside?

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Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 53226, USA.


A steadily increasing number of investigations demonstrate that preconditioning with volatile anesthetics attenuates the deleterious effects of myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury by an ischemic preconditioning-like mechanism. Thus volatile anesthetics may represent the best choice for anesthesia of patients at risk for myocardial ischemia. However, factors such as old age, coexisting conditions such as diabetes mellitus and the use of oral hypoglycemic drugs or cyclooxygenase inhibitors, timing and duration of myocardial ischemia, and possible constraints of a complicated preconditioning protocol may limit the benefits of this powerful tool under clinical conditions. The purpose of this minireview is to provide a brief overview of the results of basic and clinical research on cardioprotection by volatile anesthetics.

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