West Midlands Ambulance Service in cardiac arrest trial

Tuesday 2nd June 2015 – 8am – Chris Kowalik/Steve Parry

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) is to take part in a ground breaking medical trial funded by the National Institute for Health Research and co-ordinated by the University of Warwick.

Gavin Perkins, Chief Investigator for the Trial explains:

 Gavin Perkins 2

The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, European Resuscitation Council and Resuscitation Council (UK) which set the current resuscitation guidelines, have identified the urgent need for a clinical trial to determine whether  adrenaline therapy for cardiac arrest is safe and effective. The new study will work out once and for all if adrenaline is helpful or harmful as a treatment for cardiac arrest.

A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating and the patient is unconscious. All people taking part in the study will receive standard treatments which are known to work (CPR and, if required defibrillation).  In addition, some people will receive adrenaline and some will not receive adrenaline.

Patients will be followed up in hospital and researchers will compare what happens and determine whether adrenaline works or not. The data will be analysed frequently as the trial progresses so that if a significant difference (one way or the other) is detected, the trial can be stopped early.

Speaking about the trial, Mike Smyth (pictured below), research fellow at Warwick Medical School and WMAS paramedic, said: “We’ve been using adrenaline in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest for over 50 years now, but we don’t know if it’s beneficial for improved patient outcomes. There has been data that had emerged recently that suggests patients who receive adrenaline during their resuscitation was worse neurologic (brain function) outcomes. Therefore it is important for us to find out for patients if we are harming them by giving them adrenaline.”

The trial also involves four other ambulance Trusts (South Central Ambulance Service, London Ambulance Service, Welsh Ambulance Service and North East Ambulance Service) and will commence in the West Midlands in June.

Mike Smyth 2


  • Certain patients will be excluded from the trial, for example under 16s, pregnant women and people with anaphylactic reactions.

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