08 May 2007

CPR: Everything we know is wrong?

Newsweek: Docs Change the Way They Think About Death

The best treatment for a heart attack might be to slowly reintroduce oxygen, as the heart cells remain alive for an hour after being cut off from oxygen, but immediately die when oxygen is reintroduced suddenly. One study showed an 80% survival rate with the gradual reintroduction of oxygen, compared to only 17% under normal procedures (jolt the heart with paddles and get it beating fast).


Because once the cells have been without oxygen for more than five minutes, they die when their oxygen supply is resumed. It was that "astounding" discovery, Becker says, that led him to his post as the director of Penn's Center for Resuscitation Science, a newly created research institute operating on one of medicine's newest frontiers: treating the dead.

* * *

"It looks to us," says Becker, "as if the cellular surveillance mechanism cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and a cell being reperfused with oxygen. Something throws the switch that makes the cell die."

No comments: