A team of scientists recently stated that specific medications used to treat heart rhythm can be used by paramedics and EMS professionals to treat patients who have out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and did not respond to electric shock treatment.
When the health workers used these medications, the patients had higher chances of surviving the ambulance trip to the hospital.
The study, available in the New England Journal of Medicine, provides answers to an ongoing scientific debate about whether two commonly used antiarrhythmic drugs (amiodarone and lidocaine) can be used to treat sudden cardiac arrest.
The researchers monitored patients as they progressed from hospital admission to hospital discharge. Even though neither of the two drugs showed a significant benefit to the patient’s overall survival through hospital discharge, amiodarone medications demonstrated a notable benefit.
“This trial shows that amiodarone and lidocaine offer hope for bringing patients back to life and into the hospital after cardiac arrest,” Dr. Peter Kudenchuk, principal study author and cardiac electrophysiologist at the University of Washington Medical Center, said. “While the overall increase in survival to hospital discharge of about 3 percent with amiodarone was not statistically significant, it came very close. Importantly, there was a significant improvement in survival to hospital discharge with either drug when the cardiac arrest was bystander-witnessed.”