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Providence joins study on oxygen treatment for heart attacks

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published March 23, 2016

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SOUTHFIELD — A local hospital is one of the first institutions in the country to test a new technique of treating heart attacks.

Providence-Providence Park Hospital, 16001 W. Nine Mile Road, announced recently that it is the first hospital in the U.S. to enroll a patient in a study of a system that uses oxygen to reduce the damage caused by heart attacks.

Called the Evaluation of Intracoronary Hyperoxemic Oxygen Therapy study, it will involve 100 patients at up to 15 centers across the country.

The goal of the study is to collect data supporting the safety and effectiveness of a system that delivers supersaturated oxygen therapy to patients who have undergone angioplasty, or surgery for a blocked blood vessel, and stenting within six hours of experiencing heart attack symptoms. Stenting is a procedure in which a small mesh tube is inserted to treat narrow or weak arteries.

“What we’re trying to do is reduce the extent of an injury after a heart attack,” said Dr. Shukri David, physician chair of the Heart and Vascular Center of Excellence at St. John Providence. “In simple terms, the heart muscle requires oxygen and nutrients for it to continually exercise. If you think about your arms —  if you move them doing any type of repetitive motion, you get tired after a minute or two. Well, your heart does this 365 (days a year) for 80 to 100 years.”

According to a news release from Brian Taylor, with media relations at Providence-Providence Park Hospital, supersaturated oxygen therapy is a solution of highly oxygenated saline mixed with the patient’s blood and delivered through a catheter to the targeted area of the heart. It is intended to salvage the jeopardized heart muscle, he said. 

Dr. David Svinarich, head of research at Providence-Providence Park Hospital, said the goal is to implement the treatment within 60 minutes of patients entering the emergency room.

“If somebody gets diagnosed with a heart attack, there’s a window of time we can try to give them this supersaturated oxygen therapy, but if you wait too long, damage is already wrought,” Svinarich said.

The study is being conducted by TherOx Inc., a privately held medical device company, to support a premarket approval submission to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“We were the first one to recruit a subject in the new trial in the country,” Svinarich said. “Providence is a community-based hospital, but it’s doing world-class clinical research. From our perspective, it’s wonderful because it provides cutting-edge therapy locally.”