Post-conditioning to improve cardiopulmonary resuscitation

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Despite decades of advances in prehospital and in-hospital medical care, patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest continue to have poor neurologic and cardiac function following otherwise successful resuscitation. This review examines the mechanisms and therapeutic strategies currently under development to activate the post-conditioning pathways and thereby improve survival and function.

Recent findings

Post-conditioning utilizes the reperfusion injury salvage kinase (RISK) and survivor activating factor enhancement (SAFE) pathways as common avenues to promote cell survival and function. Ischemic post-conditioning and multiple medications activate these pathways resulting in improved cardiac and neurological function in animal models of cardiac arrest.

Summary

Detailed knowledge of the RISK and SAFE pathways can be used for further drug development. Human studies are now underway to test some of these strategies, but further clinical trials are necessary to translate these therapies to clinical practice.

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