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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Adds Life To Survival After Cardiac Arrest

High intervals of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy showcases great hope as a new health alternative to extending the window of opportunity to resuscitate a person whose heart has stopped during sudden cardiac arrest.

Researchers at the School of Medicine at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans recently reported they used hyperbaric oxygen therapy to revive pigs up to 25 minutes after their hearts had stopped beating.

In humans, if a patient's heart is not restarted through some means (CPR, medications or electric shock) within 16 minutes, 100 percent of patients die, according to American Heart Association statistics.

Instant cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death of Americans.

"To resuscitate any living organism after 25 minutes of heart stoppage at room temperature has never been reported and suggests that the time to successful resuscitation in humans may be extended beyond the stubborn figure of 16 minutes that has stood for 50 years," -- study leader Keith Van Meter, a clinical professor of medicine at the LSU center, said in an university news release.

This discovery was expected to be published in the August issue of Resuscitation.

In the study, LSU researchers stopped the heart of laboratory swine kept at room temperature and declared them dead from cardiac arrest.

After waiting a little over 25 minutes, they then attempted advanced cardiac life support to bring them back to life by either normal or high doses of hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Additionally, the swine didn’t receive any artificial breathing, CPR, medications, or electric shocks during their cardiac arrest.

Four of the six animals given high levels of hyperbaric oxygen therapy, a dose one-third greater in strength than what is usually given to humans, were revived after a two-hour resuscitation period. Unfortunately, no others survived.

"The present study shows that short-term, high-dose hyperbaric oxygen is an effective resuscitation tool and is safe in a small multi-place hyperbaric chamber," -- Van Meter said.

"A rehearsed team can easily load a patient in cardiopulmonary arrest into a small multi-place chamber in the prehospital or hospital setting without interrupting CPR or advanced cardiac life support.

Successful resuscitation at 25 minutes recommends that if high-dose hyperbaric oxygen is used at the current ACLS limit of 16 minutes, a much greater survival may actually be accomplished in individuals and allow application of more definitive treatment such as clot-dissolving drugs."

Future studies are planned to evaluate hyperbaric oxygen therapy thoroughly.

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