News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Biggest NZ nationwide study has global impact

The findings of a nationwide heart research project have been presented by New Zealand cardiologist, Professor Ralph Stewart, in Paris this morning (2.40am NZT). The controversial findings could change the way we treat heart attack patients here and overseas.

The Heart Foundation study was the largest randomised trial undertaken in New Zealand and included 40,000 patients, from Northland to Southland, over two years.

Oxygen has been given to patients suffering a heart attack for more than 50 years, but so far there has been no evidence if this is helping or even harming the heart.

“It’s been a controversial subject. Some studies have suggested giving oxygen to people with normal oxygen blood levels could be harmful. On the other hand some patients having a heart attack have reduced oxygen levels in the blood and it is possible correcting this is beneficial. So this study was designed to determine whether the balance of routine oxygen was towards benefit or harm,” says Professor Stewart.

A heart attack is caused by a sudden blockage of an artery carrying blood to the heart, resulting in a lack of oxygen to keep the heart muscle alive, so oxygen therapy has been routinely given for many years for suspected benefit. However in recent years some small trials have suggested harm with oxygen therapy causing constriction to the arteries and worsening blood flow to heart muscle at risk,.

In the New Zealand study people suspected of, or suffering from a heart attack, were given either high flow oxygen routinely or oxygen only if their own levels were low.

“We found that high flow oxygen therapy neither improved or damaged the heart and as such believe giving oxygen routinely is not needed for most patients.

It’s really important to identify what works and what doesn’t. This is why these types of trials are so important. Results can also be very humbling, as they don’t always give the answer you expect.”

Associate Professor Gerry Devlin, Medical Director of the Heart Foundation and a Co-investigator of the study, highlights the real world design with involvement of all healthcare professionals a patient with a suspected heart attack encounters as a strength of the study.

The randomised trial was undertaken by St John and Wellington Free Ambulance first responders nationally, the National Cardiac and Emergency Medical Clinic Networks and hospitals all around New Zealand .

“The Heart Foundation is delighted to have been able to support this important work and are excited by the potential of the trial network Professor Stewart has established which can hopefully continue to work together to improve the heart health of New Zealanders,” says Devlin.

Professor Ralph Stewart’s work is one of several major studies to present findings at the European Society of Caridology Congress in Paris. The congress is the biggest cardiology conference internationally and more than 30,000 people attend.

Professor Ralph Stewart’s research was funded by the Heart Foundation.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>

Controversial Reforms: Te Papa Chief Executive To Step Down

Te Papa’s Chief Executive Geraint Martin announced today he will step down from the role at the end of the year. Mr Martin said he had achieved what he set out to do at the museum, and Te Papa was in a strong position for the future. More>>

ALSO:

A City Possessed: New Edition Of Book Coincides With Ellis Case Appeal

Originally published in 2001, A City Possessed is the harrowing account of one of New Zealand’s most high-profile criminal cases – a story of child sexual abuse allegations, gender politics and the law. More>>

ALSO:

Te Wiki O Te Reo: Tribute To NZers Embracing Te Reo

Māori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins says everyday New Zealanders are proving Māori language critics wrong by coming together and embracing our national, indigenous language. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis: Four Women In A Man Cave - The Pink Hammer

As the play's publicity package playfully inquires - “Five unhappy people in a shed full of tools. What could possibly go wrong?” More>>

Howard Davis: The NZSO Present Transfiguration

The rich, lush, and luxuriant music of Rachmaninov, Strauss, and Wagner will be in the capable hands of Asher Fisch and French Canadian pianist Louis Lortie. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland