(ESSEN, Germany) — Turns out that a blood pressure cuff may do more for your heart than simply diagnose blood pressure. For patients undergoing heart surgery, inflating a blood pressure cuff around their arm appears to cut their risk of dying even a year after surgery, German researchers suggest.
The actual process goes by the unfriendly moniker “remote ischemic preconditioning” – in essence, it is the practice of inflating a blood pressure cuff on one arm before heart bypass surgery and then deflating it.
In the study, published in the journal The Lancet, researchers at the University School of Medicine Essen in Germany looked at about 300 patients with heart disease and who were undergoing elective bypass surgery. Of those, some underwent remote ischemic preconditioning, and others did not. They found that if doctors inflated the blood pressure cuffs for five minutes, then deflated them, for a total of three cycles, the subjects had decreased heart muscle injury.
Notably, one year after surgery, of those who used the blood pressure cuff, 1.9 percent died, compared to 6.9 percent in the control group. Even more surprising, only 2.6 percent who used the cuffs had a major heart attack or stroke after one year, compared to 12 percent in the control group.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Susie East, CNN
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com
Brianna Owczarzak and Rachel McCrary, CNN