Adrenaline shot may not always help heart patients

Researchers writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people whose hearts suddenly stopped beating had circulation return more often in the ambulance if they were given adrenaline - but those same patients were less likely to be alive and without brain damage a month later.

"This finding implies that epinephrine administration might save the heart but not the brain," wrote Akihito Hagihara, from Kyushu University Graduate School of Medicine, and colleagues. For their study, the team looked at about 417,000 cases of cardiac arrest in which patients were treated by emergency medical services (EMS) and taken to the hospital between 2005 and 2008. In US, more than 380,000 sudden cardiac arrests happen outside of the hospital annually, the American Medical Association says.

In addition to CPR and sometimes electrical shock, most of patients are treated with adrenaline, which causes blood vessels not going to the heart to constrict, shunting as much blood as possible to the heart. Just over 15,000 were given adrenaline during the study period. Close to 19% had their circulation come back in the ambulance, compared to 6% who weren't given adrenaline.

Similar Threads: