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Glucose may support in Cardiac Arrest

ults significantly improved when restricted to the 90 percent of patients who had not suffered severe damage or heart failure. Only 10 people who got the infusion were dead 30 days later, compared with 18 in the group who didn't get the tonic.

Dr. Felix Zijlstra, a cardiology professor who led the research said that these data show that at least we should take it seriously. ``Metabolic intervention seems to have a future - on top of other therapy and provided they don't have heart failure.''

About three quarters of people who have a heart attack have no signs of heart failure. While experts were encouraged by the glucose findings, they appeared to give up on another infusion for heart patients that had once shown promise - magnesium.

A number of small studies conducted on humans in the 1980s suggested magnesium reduced deaths. But a large study in 1993 failed to find a benefit. However the larger study left open the possibility magnesium could be helpful if given sooner after an attack and to people with a worse prognosis - such as the elderly or people who couldn't have their arteries widened or receive clot-busting drugs. The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute funded a Harvard Medical School study of more than 2,000 patients in 12 countries to answer that question.

The findings, presented at the Berlin meeting, showed that magnesium infusions were useless for such patients. Fifteen percent of the patients died in the month after their heart attacks, regardless of whether they had had the magnesium infusion. ``I think magnesium is now dead in the water,'' said Rory Collins, an Oxford University epidemiologist who was not connected with the study.


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