Bilateral Remote Ischaemic Conditioning in Children (BRICC) trial: protocol for a two-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial in young children undergoing cardiac surgery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Rehana Bi
  • John Stickley
  • Kevin P. Morris
  • James Montgomerie
  • Carin Van Doorn
  • Natalie Ives
  • Timothy Jones

External organisations

  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust,


Introduction Myocardial protection against ischaemic-reperfusion injury is a key determinant of heart function and outcome following cardiac surgery in children. However, with current strategies, myocardial injury occurs routinely following aortic cross-clamping, as demonstrated by the ubiquitous rise in circulating troponin. Remote ischaemic preconditioning, the application of brief, non-lethal cycles of ischaemia and reperfusion to a distant organ or tissue, is a simple, low-risk and readily available technique which may improve myocardial protection. The Bilateral Remote Ischaemic Conditioning in Children (BRICC) trial will assess whether remote ischaemic preconditioning, applied to both lower limbs immediately prior to surgery, reduces myocardial injury in cyanotic and acyanotic young children.

Methods and analysis The BRICC trial is a two-centre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial recruiting up to 120 young children (age 3 months to 3 years) undergoing primary repair of tetralogy of Fallot or surgical closure of an isolated ventricular septal defect. Participants will be randomised in a 1:1 ratio to either bilateral remote ischaemic preconditioning (3×5 min cycles) or sham immediately prior to surgery, with follow-up until discharge from hospital or 30 days, whichever is sooner. The primary outcome is reduction in area under the time-concentration curve for high-sensitivity (hs) troponin-T release in the first 24 hours after aortic cross-clamp release. Secondary outcome measures include peak hs-troponin-T, vasoactive inotrope score, arterial lactate and central venous oxygen saturations in the first 12 hours, and lengths of stay in the paediatric intensive care unit and the hospital.

Ethics and dissemination The trial was approved by the West Midlands-Solihull National Health Service Research Ethics Committee (16/WM/0309) on 5 August 2016. Findings will be disseminated to the academic community through peer-reviewed publications and presentation at national and international meetings. Parents will be informed of the results through a newsletter in conjunction with a local charity.

Trial registration number ISRCTN12923441.

Bibliographic note

Funding Information: Funding This work is supported by an Intermediate Clinical Research Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation [FS/15/49/31612] awarded to NED. Lay review of the parent information sheets and consent forms was funded by a Patient & Public Involvement Bursary Award [RDS/WM-1318] from the NIHR Research Design Service in the West Midlands. The Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences is supported by an Accelerator Award from the British Heart Foundation [AA/18/2/34218]. Phenome Centre Birmingham was constructed through a grant from the Medical Research Council in the UK [MR/M009157/1].


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere042176
JournalBMJ open
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2020


  • clinical trials, congenital heart disease, paediatric cardiac surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas