Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury occurs in a wide spectrum of patients, ranging from survivors of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest to acute myocardial infarction victims as well as patients undergoing cardiac surgery, and represents a major public health burden. This injury contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality, despite meticulous adherence to presently known principles of myocardial protection. Despite the considerable progress that has been made in the field of myocardial protection, highrisk subsets of patients continue to exhibit ischemia-reperfusion-related complications, including prolonged contractile dysfunction (stunning), low-output syndrome, perioperative myocardial infarction, and cardiac failure, requiring prolonged intensive care. Sildenafil, a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor, currently licensed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension has shown great promise in animal studies as a possible pharmacologic agent for cardioprotection. This review article discusses the pharmacology of sildenafil and focuses on the available evidence from animal studies on the potential role of sildenafil for treating ischemia-reperfusion injury with its implications for clinical practice.
Keywords: Sildenafil, ischemic preconditioning, myocardial ischemia, myocardial reperfusion injury