Wednesday 13th August 2014 – 4.15pm – Murray MacGregor.
West Midlands Ambulance Service has thrown weight behind a medical trial that could lead to many more patients surviving a cardiac arrest.
Whilst the numbers of people who suffer a cardiac arrest are relatively small, the survival rate for an out of hospital cardiac arrest is very low at around 8%.
While current guidelines used by all ambulance services in Britain recommends giving adrenalin during resuscitation, there are concerns that the drug may cause severe brain damage and may not help overall survival at all.
Trust medical Director, Dr Andy Carson, said: “Although adrenaline has been used for many years in cardiac arrest management, there is growing evidence that it may result in poorer outcomes for patients, hence the need for a trial.
“We know that a number of survivors of cardiac arrest suffer from brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. Developments in brain imaging are now suggesting that the use of adrenaline, whilst helping to restart the heart, may cause more harm than good, as it is known to cause brain damage in a number of cases.
“Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation will still be used as normal in the treatment of cardiac arrest.
“We have a history of close working with the Warwick Clinical Trials Unit, who are undertaking the study, and half of the ambulance services in the Country are taking part.
“Unfortunately, there have been a number of misunderstandings about the trial which have led to unnecessary concern for a number of patients.
“It is therefore important to note that patients with other conditions requiring adrenaline, such as anaphylaxis, will continue to receive the adrenaline that they need. To not do so would put these patients at high risk.
“Equally, this study won’t alter the care of patients with heart attacks, as adrenaline is not used in their treatment.
“Taking part in this trial is important as it could save the lives of literally hundreds of patients over the coming years.”