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Paramedics who administer a recipe consisting of glucose, insulin, and potassium (GIK) to someone who is about to have or who is having a heart attack can cut the patient’s risk of cardiac arrest or dying by 40 percent. The odds get even better (around 60 percent) if GIK is given to someone who has a specific type of heart attack.
Every year, more than 785,000 Americans experience their first heart attack, and another 470,000 have a repeat attack. Individuals have a much better chance of recovering or surviving a heart attack the faster it is treated.
A new study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session noted that patients who received GIK immediately after being diagnosed that a heart attack was on the way or was in progress had a significantly better chance of not having cardiac arrest (when the heart stops) or of surviving when compared with patients who received placebo. It’s important to note that administering GIK did not prevent a heart attack from occurring and that GIK can be given even before a diagnosis of a heart attack has been completely diagnosed.
This new study, which is the first to test the effectiveness of GIK when given at the first signs of an impending heart attack, was conducted using trained paramedics from 36 Emergency Medical Systems in 13 cities across the United States. According to Harry P. Selker, MD, MSPPH, executive director of the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center, this approach “could have important implications for the treatment of heart attacks.” The other good news? Treatment costs only about $50.
American College of Cardiology. “New way to abate heart attacks before patients get to the hospital.” ScienceDaily, 27 March 2012.