• The mechanisms of ischemia-reperfusion injury in skeletal muscle remain controversial. Some investigators have demonstrated that heparin can ameliorate ischemic injury to heart, brain, and renal tissue. We investigated the ability of heparin sodium to decrease ischemia-reperfusion injury in an isolated gracilis muscle model in ten anesthetized mongrel dogs. One gracilis muscle was perfused normally while the contralateral muscle was subjected to six hours of ischemia followed by one hour of reperfusion. Five dogs were given a preischemic bolus of heparin sodium (200 U/kg, intravenously followed by a continuous infusion (15 U/kg/h, intravenously), and five control dogs received no heparin. Quantitation of skeletal muscle ischemia-reperfusion injury was determined by histochemical staining with triphenyl tetrazolium-chloride and computerized planimetry of the infarct size. Results from the ischemic muscle demonstrate a significant beneficial effect of heparinization. The nonheparinized dogs had a 72%±5% infarct size, which was significantly reduced to 24%±8% in the heparinized dogs. The mechanism of this protective effect may be due to heparin's anticoagulant, antiplatelet, or anti-inflammatory action.
(Arch Surg 1988;123:470-472)