Effect of Systemic Piracetam Treatment on Flap Survival and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Expression after Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

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The effects of piracetam on flap survival, ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury, and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression were evaluated in this study. Unipedicled epigastric flap model was used in 36 rats and was evaluated within 4 groups. The flap was elevated and untreated in Group 1. Postoperative piracetam treatment was given for 7 days in Group 2. In Group 3, 4 hours of ischemia and 2 hours of reperfusion were applied. I/R was applied to Group 4 and piracetam was given 30 minutes before reperfusion and postoperatively for 7 days. Laser Doppler flowmetry was used to measure blood flow changes. VEGF expression was determined using immunohistochemical methods on tissue samples taken after the completion of 2 hours reperfusion in groups 3 and 4. Flap necrosis was measured on the day 7 in all groups. Blood flow rates did not show significant difference between piracetam treated and untreated I/R groups. Piracetam significantly reduced necrosis area both in ischemic and nonischemic flaps (p < 0.05). VEGF expression was significantly increased in piracetam-treated Group 4 compared with Group 3 (p = 0.005). This experimental study demonstrates that systemic piracetam treatment improves survival of pedicled flaps, reduces necrosis amounts, and increases VEGF expression in I/R induced flaps.

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