A nationwide study that relied partly on Twin Cities-area data finds a relatively low-cost treatment given to patients experiencing chest pains appears to reduce the risk of cardiac arrest or death.
The medication — glucose-insulin-potassium — costs about $50.
Dr. Ralph Frascone of St. Paul's Regions Hospital and a co-author of the study said the medication, given by paramedics before patients reached the hospital, reduced by half the risk of cardiac arrest or dying.
"We've been involved in a lot of cardiac arrest research over the years," Frascone said. "With over 250,000 cardiac arrests a year in this country out of hospital, another 250,000 in hospital, these are very important results and have to be taken seriously."
The study also found the medication reduced the size of heart muscle lost in patients who had a heart attack. The study is reported in the latest Journal of the American Medical Association.