Training blood vessels may help protect against heart attack
Remote ischaemic preconditioning (RIPC), induced by intermittent periods of limb ischemia and reperfusion, confers cardiac and vascular protection from subsequent ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury. In this review, they highlight recent experimental findings in the peripheral circulation that have added valuable insight into the mechanisms and clinical benefits of RIPC in humans. Central to this discussion is the critical role of timing (i.e. immediate vs. delayed effects following a single bout of RIPC) and the frequency of RIPC. Limited evidence in humans has demonstrated that repeated bouts of RIPC over several days uniquely improve vascular function beyond that observed with a single bout alone. Since changes in resistance vessel and microvascular function often precede symptoms and diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, repeated bouts of RIPC may be promising as a preclinical intervention to prevent or delay cardiovascular disease progression.