A national study under the direction of a Yale physician, involving Yale-New Haven Hospital and New Haven-area paramedics and EMTs, has shown that patients suffering heart attack symptoms who receive early administration of a glucose-insulin-potassium (GIK) solution suffer less-severe heart attacks and fewer cardiac arrests or deaths.

The study was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and was simultaneously presented at the American College of Cardiologys annual meeting.

New Haven was one of 13 communities participating in a national study to determine whether such intravenous medication, administered in the first hours after the onset of symptoms, could save lives. The study evaluated nearly a thousand people who called 911 with symptoms and signs of a heart attack. Although GIK did not prevent a heart attack, the seizure was smaller and death rates and other serious outcomes were significantly lower among those receiving GIK.

Carin Van Gelder, M.D., who directed the study while at Yale, says, Half a million Americans die of heart attacks every year. Our New Haven community helped demonstrate that the severity of heart attacks can be reduced by early administration of this simple solution. Van Gelder is now at Johnson Memorial Hospital in Connecticut.

The study was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Helen Dodson

Yale University

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