Medical teams throughout Mississippi and across the nation have commonly used adrenaline, also called epinephrine, for many decades to treat emergency cardiac arrest victims in an attempt to save their lives. Traditionally, adrenaline is use when CPR and electric shocks have failed to start the heart and restore breathing. New information available, however, provides evidence that the use of epinephrine in these cases only increases the survival odds of patients to slight degree, while at the same time significantly increasing their prospects of suffering severe brain damage.
A prevailing view among many scientists regarding the use of adrenaline in urgent cardiac arrest situations is that the drug may cause damage to the blood vessels of the brain, resulting in a vegetative state for the patient. Another view is that the heart can survive for a longer period of time than the brain itself can without the benefit of oxygen. Therefore, although the heart can be restarted, the brain may have suffered significant, permanent damage due to the absence of oxygen to the organ for a lengthy period of time.
Each year in the U.S., about 350,000 individuals suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital environment. In these cases, about 9 out of 10 of these incidents result in death. CPR and defibrillator shocks are the first lines of treatment in these urgent cardiac arrest cases to save the life. Adrenaline is only used as a last resort when all else has failed. Epinephrine works by increasing the blood pressure with the hope of restarting the heart.
You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if the medical professionals serving you or your loved one in an emergency cardiac arrest situation failed to provide the expected standard of care, resulting in injury or death.
Academic Emergency Medicine (AEM) Journal findings
An investigation in the Academic Emergency Medicine journal which reviewed numerous studies involving more than 650,000 cardiac arrest patients concluded that adrenaline (epinephrine) injections provided no benefits to patients outside of a hospital environment. Within a hospital setting, much better patient monitoring is available when administering these types of drugs.
Epinephrine almost doubles brain damage in cardiac arrests out-of-hospital
The New England Journal of Medicine reported the results of a study that bolsters the AEM analysis. The study analyzed some 8000 patients in the United Kingdom from 2014 to 2017. It concluded that providing adrenaline to urgent cardiac arrest patients enhanced their survival rates only slightly. Patients who received epinephrine were 1 percent more likely to have their heart restarted, but also at twice the risk of incurring serious brain damage.
Of those who were given adrenaline and recovered from their heart attack, nearly 1/3 suffered serious neurological damage. Significantly fewer – 18 percent – who did not receive adrenaline, but survived their cardiac arrest, suffered such damage. The neurological injuries mentioned can include incontinence, the inability to walk or walk unassisted, or suffering confinement to a bed.
Victims of medical malpractice can face long-term health issues that significantly increase their financial obligations. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a hospital or medical personnel, our Mississippi medical malpractice attorneys at Merkel & Cocke can help you secure the compensation you are owed for your losses. We represent clients throughout the Gulf Coast and the city of Tupelo from our offices in Jackson, Clarksdale, and Oxford. To set up a free case evaluation, call us today at 662.799.1633 or complete our contact form.