One of the major health concerns that Americans and Canadians alike most often think about is a heart attack. When a person is rushed to the ER because they are having a heart attack, there is only a window of opportunity to save that person’s life.
A new Italian study points to angioplasty as an effective method of treating cardiac arrest. This new data was presented to the Acute Cardiac Care Congress 2012. Acute Cardiac Care Congress just held its first annual meeting in Istanbul, Turkey. It is a congress offered by the European Society of Cardiology.
“Out of hospital cardiac arrest is a leading cause of mortality and acute coronary occlusion is the leading cause of cardiac arrest. It is well known that when an electrocardiogram (ECG) shows that a patient has ST elevation, primary angiography must be done as soon as possible. If severe coronary disease is found, coronary angioplasty with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is performed to open the blocked vessel.”
According to the author of the paper, Dr. Nicolino, there is still a controversy concerning performing the angioplasty if the ECG comes back normal. The guidelines don’t say whether the procedure is merited or not. It appears that the doctors are left to make their own decisions.
The doctor points to some studies that recommended the angioplasty even if the ECG is normal and there are isn’t any ST elevation (reading on the ECG pointing to a blood clot) as the patient may still have heart disease; the angioplasty opens blocked vessels.
Dr. Nicolino set out to show that an angioplasty was the effective treatment for cardiac arrest which occurred in an out of the hospital situation. She found,” “In our study, a successful urgent coronary angioplasty improved hospital survival in patients with STEMI and NSTEMI… All patients with out of hospital cardiac arrest, if there is no non-cardiac cause, must have an urgent coronary angiography followed by coronary angioplasty if there is coronary disease.”
The doctor points out that ECG readings are unreliable and therefore the angioplasty should be performed regardless of the ECG findings. Important to note “that Post-resuscitation neurologic injury (PNI) was a complication,” the window of opportunity to revive is limited and the angioplasty must be performed quickly. “Dr Nicolino concluded: “Patients with out of hospital cardiac arrest must be managed by cardiologists, intensive care doctors and anaesthesiologists. This team can save the brain from injury using cooling therapy, and save the heart and life of the patient using coronary angioplasty.”