A new cuff can help save heart attack victims by limiting blood flow.
Ischemic preconditioning involves using the device to interrupt blood flow in the arm, off and on over a period of 35 to 40 minutes: the cuff is inflated for five minutes, then deflated for five minutes, with the procedure being repeated consecutively four times.
Once at the hospital, the patient receives routine heart attack treatment, including cardiac angioplasty. Preconditioning using the cuff may still be going on throughout this procedure, which uses a tiny inflatable balloon to open up narrowed or blocked blood vessels to the heart.
Researchers, whose paper appears in Friday’s issue of The Lancet, found that those heart attack patients randomly assigned to have preconditioning had an overall reduction in heart muscle damage of 30 per cent, compared to those not treated with the cuff.