© 2021, The Author(s).Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and the heart failure (HF) which may follow are among the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. As such, new therapeutic interventions are still needed to protect the heart against acute ischemia/reperfusion injury to reduce myocardial infarct size and prevent the onset of HF in patients presenting with AMI. However, the clinical translation of cardioprotective interventions that have proven to be beneficial in preclinical animal studies, has been challenging. One likely major reason for this failure to translate cardioprotection into patient benefit is the lack of rigorous and systematic in vivo preclinical assessment of the efficacy of promising cardioprotective interventions prior to their clinical evaluation. To address this, we propose an in vivo set of step-by-step criteria for IMproving Preclinical Assessment of Cardioprotective Therapies (‘IMPACT’), for investigators to consider adopting before embarking on clinical studies, the aim of which is to improve the likelihood of translating novel cardioprotective interventions into the clinical setting for patient benefit.