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Recently it has been shown that the mitochondria-targeted S-nitrosothiol MitoSNO protects against acute ischaemia/reperfusion (IR) injury by inhibiting the reactivation of mitochondrial complex I in the first minutes of reperfusion of ischaemic tissue, thereby preventing free radical formation that underlies IR injury. However, it remains unclear how this transient inhibition of mitochondrial complex I-mediated free radicals at reperfusion affects the long-term recovery of the heart following IR injury. Here we determined whether the acute protection by MitoSNO at reperfusion prevented the subsequent development of post-myocardial infarction heart failure.Mice were subjected to 30 min left coronary artery occlusion followed by reperfusion and recovery over 28 days. MitoSNO (100 ng/kg) was applied 5 min before the onset of reperfusion followed by 20 min infusion (1 ng/kg/min). Infarct size and cardiac function were measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) 24 h after infarction. MitoSNO-treated mice exhibited reduced infarct size and preserved function. In addition, MitoSNO at reperfusion improved outcome measures 28 days post-IR, including preserved systolic function (63.7 ±1.8% LVEF vs. 53.7 ± 2.1% in controls, P = 0.01) and tissue fibrosis.MitoSNO action acutely at reperfusion reduces infarct size and protects from post-myocardial infarction heart failure. Therefore, targeted inhibition of mitochondrial complex I in the first minutes of reperfusion by MitoSNO is a rational therapeutic strategy for preventing subsequent heart failure in patients undergoing IR injury.