ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - There may be a new life-saving medicine for heart attack victims, a concoction so interesting tested in Bernalillo and Sandoval counties.
All paramedics here were armed with it, and in the end nearly 200 patients received it. Doctors say it saved lives.
When a person has a heart attack, time is of the essence. The quicker a patient is treated, the better their potential outcome.
That is the idea behind a new heart attack cocktail.
"The immediate trial was a study of a very simple combination of drugs that we're all very familiar with in medicine are all used to in medicine: glucose, insulin and potassium," said Dr. Michael Richards, chairman of the UNM Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. "They were given to patients that were suspected of having a heart attack or confirmed as having a heart attack."
Richards helped coordinate the study of this drug throughout the two counties where every paramedic with Albuquerque Ambulance and the regional fire departments was trained.
They are the ones who administered the drug while the patients were on the way to the hospital.
"The important point here is that the GIK, or glucose-insulin-potassium solution, provides support to the heart when it does not have enough oxygen," Richards said. "This gives us more time to do the definitive treatment, which is a cardiac catheterization."
Richards said the study showed extremely positive results.
He says of the patients who received the drug, fewer died or had cardiac arrest, which is when the heart stops beating even for a short time. They also saw a reduction in the severity of the heart attacks.
Richards says the drug will likely undergo a more extensive study before a decision is made about its future use, Richards added.
But if the results are as good in other cities as they were here, Richards said paramedics and doctors could soon have a very important tool in their arsenal.
"Cardiac complaints are one of major reason we see patients in emergency department, so there's potentially impact for a very large population," he said.
The study was conducted between December 2006 and July 2011.
It involved 13 cities and involved 870 patients, but Albuquerque had the most patients with nearly 200.
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