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Heart attack patients are getting supersaturated oxygen therapy, in addition to angioplasty or stents. And it's helping them suffer less damage.
59 year-old Tim France is reminiscing about a 500-mile hike he did with his son three years ago. He exercises, eats well, and doesn't smoke. Then, one day on the golf course …
France says, "As I was walking from the fifth to the sixth hole, you have to walk up a hill, and that's when I felt a pain in my chest. Right in the middle of my chest, and it's like, well, this is not good."
France was rushed into the care of Dr. John Harrington at Scripps Memorial Hospital, who invited France to be part of the supersaturated oxygen therapy trial.
Harrington says, "We increase the oxygen content of the blood by five to seven times, and then that is infused back into the patient, directly into the major artery of the heart."
In early phases of the trial, heart muscle damage went down by 26-percent.
Harrington says, "The sooner that you open the artery that has interrupted blood flow to the muscle, the less damage is done. I use the analogy of a house fire. The sooner you call the fire department, the sooner the fire is out, the less structural damage is done."
France had MRI's at five and thirty days after the procedure.
France says, "I feel as well now as I did before the heart attack, and I'm thinking that part of it has to do with that study."
He's also psyched to help researchers improve outcomes for first-time heart attack patients like himself.
Research into supersaturated oxygen therapy is now in phase three clinical trial, the last phase before results and data are put together and presented to the FDA. They expect to end the trial in two to three months.