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Resuscitation. 2013 Aug;84(8):1143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2013.01.024. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Ischemic post-conditioning and vasodilator therapy during standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation to reduce cardiac and brain injury after prolonged untreated ventricular fibrillation.

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Cardiovascular Division at The University of Minnesota, MN, United States.



We investigated the effects of ischemic postconditioning (IPC) with and without cardioprotective vasodilatory therapy (CVT) at the initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on cardio-cerebral function and 48-h survival.


Prospective randomized animal study. Following 15 min of ventricular fibrillation, 42 Yorkshire farm pigs weighing an average of 34 ± 2 kg were randomized to receive standard CPR (SCPR, n=12), SCPR+IPC (n=10), SCPR+IPC+CVT (n=10), or SCPR+CVT (n=10). IPC was delivered during the first 3 min of CPR with 4 cycles of 20s of chest compressions followed by 20-s pauses. CVT consisted of intravenous sodium nitroprusside (2mg) and adenosine (24 mg) during the first minute of CPR. Epinephrine was given in all groups per standard protocol. A transthoracic echocardiogram was obtained on all survivors 1 and 4h post-ROSC. The brains were extracted after euthanasia at least 24h later to assess ischemic injury in 7 regions. Ischemic injury was graded on a 0-4 scale with (0=no injury to 4 ≥ 50% neural injury). The sum of the regional scores was reported as cerebral histological score (CHS). 48 h survival was reported.


Post-resuscitation left ventricular ejection (LVEF) fraction improved in SCPR+CVT, SCPR+IPC+CVT and SCPR+IPC groups compared to SCPR (59% ± 9%, 52% ± 14%, 52% ± 14% vs. 35% ± 11%, respectively, p<0.05). Only SCPR+IPC and SCPR+IPC+CVT, but not SCPR+CVT, had lower mean CHS compared to SCPR (5.8 ± 2.6, 2.8 ± 1.8 vs. 10 ± 2.1, respectively, p<0.01). The 48-h survival among SCPR+IPC, SCPR+CVT, SCPR+IPC+CVT and SCPR was 6/10, 3/10, 5/10 and 1/12, respectively (Cox regression p<0.01).


IPC and CVT during standard CPR improved post-resuscitation LVEF but only IPC was independently neuroprotective and improved 48-h survival after 15 min of untreated cardiac arrest in pigs.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Left ventricular function; Neurological function; Post-conditioning; Survival

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