Aminophylline bolus in bradyasystolic cardiac arrest: a randomized placebo-controlled trial

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops pumping blood effectively. Without blood flow, no oxygen circulates and brain damage can occur within minutes. Bradyasystole, a type of cardiac arrest where the heart beats very slowly or not at all, accounts for more than half of cardiac arrests. Less than three out of every 100 people who experience this type of cardiac arrest survive. Bradyasystolic cardiac arrest may be caused or worsened by adenosine, a chemical that exists in our bodies and is released by cells when the heart is under stress. The drug aminophylline has been used to treat asthma for years, and may also counteract the adverse effects of adenosine during cardiac arrest. My research will evaluate the effectiveness of aminophylline in improving survival from bradyasystolic cardiac arrest. All advanced life support ambulances in Greater Vancouver and Chilliwack are participating in this double-blind, randomized study. Patients will receive either aminophylline or a placebo in addition to standard resuscitative care. The patient, paramedics, physicians and nurses will not know what the patient received. If the therapy proves beneficial, numerous lives could be saved. About 1,000 people experience cardiac arrest in North America every day, and the majority would be eligible for this treatment.