Therapeutic strategies aiming to reduce ischemia/reperfusion injury by conditioning tissue tolerance against ischemia appear attractive not only from a scientific perspective, but also in clinics. Although previous studies indicate that remote ischemic intermittent preconditioning (RIPC) is a systemic phenomenon, only a few studies have focused on the elucidation of its mechanisms of action especially in the clinical setting. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the acute microcirculatory effects of remote ischemic preconditioning on a distinct cutaneous location at the lower extremity which is typically used as a harvesting site for free flap reconstructive surgery in a human in-vivo setting.
Microcirculatory data of 27 healthy subjects (25 males, age 24 ± 4 years, BMI 23.3) were evaluated continuously at the anterolateral aspect of the left thigh during RIPC using combined Laser-Doppler and photospectrometry (Oxygen-to-see, Lea Medizintechnik, Germany). After baseline microcirculatory measurement, remote ischemia was induced using a tourniquet on the contralateral upper arm for three cycles of 5 min.
After RIPC, tissue oxygen saturation and capillary blood flow increased up to 29% and 35% during the third reperfusion phase versus baseline measurement, respectively (both p = 0.001). Postcapillary venous filling pressure decreased statistically significant by 16% during second reperfusion phase (p = 0.028).
Remote intermittent ischemic preconditioning affects cutaneous tissue oxygen saturation, arterial capillary blood flow and postcapillary venous filling pressure at a remote cutaneous location of the lower extremity. To what extent remote preconditioning might ameliorate reperfusion injury in soft tissue trauma or free flap transplantation further clinical trials have to evaluate.
Keywords: Remote ischemic preconditioning, cutaneous microcirculation, free flap, soft tissue