myocardial reperfusion injurymedical dictionary

Functional, metabolic, or structural changes in ischaemic heart muscle thought to result from reperfusion to the ischaemic areas. Changes can be fatal to muscle cells and may include oedema with explosive cell swelling and disintegration, sarcolemma disruption, fragmentation of mitochondria, contraction band necrosis, enzyme washout, and calcium overload. Other damage may include haemorrhage and ventricular arrhythmias. One possible mechanism of damage is thought to be oxygen free radicals. Treatment currently includes the introduction of scavengers of oxygen free radicals, and injury is thought to be prevented by warm blood cardioplegic infusion prior to reperfusion.

(12 Dec 1998)