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Because in ischaemia there is a critical lack of O2, it has been reasoned that increasing O2 delivery to the ischaemic myocardium could serve as adjunctive therapy for acute myocardial infarction (MI). Accordingly, in the present study, the effect of early hyperbaric oxygenation (HBO) on mortality and MI size after coronary occlusion was examined in rats.

After coronary occlusion, male Wistar rats were randomly assigned to receive either HBO for 1 h in a hyperbaric chamber (100% O2 at 253 kPa; n = 106) or ambient O2 as the control (n = 111). The extent of myocardial necrosis was assessed (triphenyltetrazolium) immediately after treatment in the HBO (n = 50) and control (n = 47) groups. The remaining rats were evaluated 24 h after occlusion to enable calculation of MI size and mortality.

Immediately after therapy, the size of the MI was significantly greater in the control group compared with that in the HBO group (40 ± 3 vs 27 ± 2% of the left ventricle (LV), respectively; P < 0.001). The 24 h mortality of control rats was higher than that of HBO rats (34 vs 16%, respectively; P = 0.02). Control rats that survived 24 h had a larger MI than did HBO rats that survived 24 h (40 ± 4 vs 29 ± 3% of the LV, respectively; P = 0.005). Furthermore, large necrotic areas (> 40% of the LV) were more frequent in control than HBO rats (55 vs 27% of infarcted hearts, respectively; P = 0.01). There was less pulmonary congestion observed in HBO rats compared with control rats.

In conclusion, early therapy with HBO during the onset of an acute ischaemic event decreases the necrotic area and reduces acute mortality. These data support further investigation of HBO as an adjuvant therapy for acute MI.
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Keywords: hyperbaric oxygen; mortality; myocardial infarction; rats; triphenyltetrazolium chloride

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2009

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