A CONTROVERSIAL medical trial will see some people given a placebo instead of adrenaline if their heart stops.
West Midlands Ambulance Service are taking part in the trial – which starts this month – on patients suffering cardiac arrests away from hospital.
The trial, which has been funded by the National Institute for Health Research, and is being co-ordinated by the University of Warwick, aims to discover whether brain function is damaged by the adrenaline injection.
Of the 8,000 patients involved – excluding pregnant women, under 16s and those with serious allergies – half will be given adrenaline and half a salt-solution placebo.
Neither the patient, paramedic, doctor or nurse will know which injection a patient has been given.
WMAS paramedic and Warwick University research fellow Mike Smyth, said: “We’ve been using adrenaline in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests for more than 50 years now, but we don’t know if it’s beneficial for improved patient outcomes.
“Data has recently emerged to suggest patients who receive adrenaline during their resuscitation had worse neurologic outcomes. Therefore it is important for us to find out for patients if we are harming them by giving them adrenaline.”
A cardiac arrest is when the heart suddenly stops beating and the patient is unconcious.
All people taking part in the study will receive standard treatments which are known to work such as CPR and defibrillation.
Patients will be followed up in hospital and researchers will analyse the data to determine whether adrenaline works.
If a significant result is shown then the trial – which will also be held in the South Central, London, Welsh and North East areas – will be stopped early.