Heart Attack Treatment Called Into Question

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Updated: 3/27/2012 8:38 am
When someone suffers cardiac arrest outside of the hospital, the drug epinepherine, a type of adrenaline, is typically one of the first used as part of the resuscitation process. But the results of a recent Japanese study links those who receive adrenaline with a lower likelihood of survival at one month or survival with good neurological functioning.

Researchers at a Japanese university analyzed data from more than 417,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests. Results show an association between those who received epinepherine and a decreased 1-month survival rate. And less than 2 percent of people who were given andrenaline had good neurological outcomes.

Researchers say more studies are needed, but wonder if the adverse long-term effect might be due to the pharmacological effects of epinepherine. That being said, doctors do not expect the use of epinepherine to stop overnight.

"Is it really the epinephrine or are there other factors involved," questioned Dr. Tom Tallman, an emergency physician at Cleveland Clinic. "But it's very interesting because we've used epinephrine for years. Anytime your heart stops and there is a variety of different rhythms and causes for that and epinephrine has always been the go-to drug."

Complete findings for the study are in the "Journal of the American Medical
Association."
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