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Access to Oxygen for Heart Attack Sufferers Might Have Zero Benefits, Study Reports

Update Date: Oct 01, 2013 01:18 PM EDT

When people suffer from a heart attack or are believed to be experiencing one, oxygen is usually provided as standard treatment. For decades people believed that administering oxygen helped with the heart attack. However, based on the findings from a new study, researchers reported that there is no evidence that oxygen therapy helps.

"While the changes to international guidelines for heart attack following our 2010 review are welcome, this new review suggests that we still do not have an evidence-based answer, based on an adequately powered and well conducted randomized trial, to confirm to clinicians and patients the role of oxygen therapy in heart attack treatment.  It is likely that a global collaboration will be required to deliver such a trial," Professor Tom Quinn from the University of Surrey said according to Medical Xpress.

In this new study done by researchers from City University London, the University of Birmingham, the University of Surrey and colleagues from Spain, the team conducted four randomized and controlled oxygen therapy trials. The researchers recruited 430 people for these trials. The researchers recorded 17 total deaths and found that people who were given oxygen had higher mortality rates than people who were not. The researchers acknowledged the fact that their findings were not statistically significant. However, they believe that their findings suggest that more research needs to be done to determine if oxygen therapy is needed in treating heart attacks.

"The difference in survival rates in these studies may simple be down to chance and is inconclusive but, what evidence there is, does suggest that far from being of help the use of oxygen may in fact be harmful," commented professor Amanda Burls. "We believe that there is an urgent need for an adequately powered randomized controlled trial to establish the effectiveness of, or harm from, the administration of oxygen to people with an acute myocardial infarction."

The study was published as a Cochrane Review

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