When someone gets a heart attack, time is of the essence. An immediate response is absolutely necessary to ensure the best outcome. Now researchers have found a simple way to reduce mortality from cardiac incidents as much as 50 percent.
The secret is a combination of glucose, insulin, and potassium—called GIK—which can be administered by paramedics at the scene or in the ambulance. The injection is inexpensive, and typically harmless in patients with signs of acute cardiac syndrome (a heart attack precursor) but who are actually suffering something else. Nearly a quarter of the patients in the study who received the injection proved not to be in the throes of a heart attack and showed no ill effects.
Most people who die from heart attacks do so before reaching the hospital. GIK lets paramedics on the scene buy the precious minutes needed to get the patient to a fully equipped facility. In previous studies of GIK, researchers speculate, it was given too late to be effective. If administered as soon as a heart attack is suspected, GIK can help save lives.