In a study published in Biomarkers, scientists at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research described their discovery of a molecule, which could indicate how long the body is deprived of oxygen during cardiac arrest. This discovery can potentially allow health care professionals to better understand if a patient will regain full brain function after cardiac arrest and how to best administer treatment.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart completely stops, preventing blood and oxygen from pumping through the body. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and other forms of resuscitation are used to get the heart started again; however this doesn’t guarantee a full recovery in which the patient will live a normal life after resuscitation. One of the ways health care professionals can anticipate if a patient will survive and go back to normal activity after cardiac arrest is to determine how long the brain is deprived of oxygen. If a person is deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time, recovery of brain activity is unlikely. Currently, it is difficult to know how long a cardiac arrest victim has been oxygen-deprived unless the event has been observed. Often, victims are found unconscious.
With time being a critical factor in cardiac arrest, Feinstein Institute Investigator Junhwan Kim and his team were looking for a more immediate indicator of the period the body is deprived of oxygen to better determine if the patient will survive and return to normal function.
“Having a method to detect the onset of cardiac arrest and the length of oxygen deprivation will help physicians make more informed decisions regarding treatment,” said Junhwan Kim, investigator at the Feinstein Institute and lead author of the Biomarker paper. “Patients and their families will benefit as doctors will be able to more immediately assess the severity of the patient’s injuries and have more definitive indicators of survival.”
For this study, researchers monitored the change in a lipid metabolite, or molecule, called lysophosphatidylinositol, which increases when there’s a lack of oxygen. Using an animal model, researchers looked at the levels of this molecule in the brain, kidney, liver, heart and blood before and five, 10, 20, 30 and 60 minutes after cardiac arrest. They found that the level of lysophosphatidylinositol increased in these major organs for up to 60 minutes post cardiac arrest. Having proved that lysophosphatidylinositol can indicate how long the body has been deprived of oxygen, Kim and his team are preparing to move into a human study where a blood sample is taken and tested immediately following cardiac arrest and post resuscitation. The results will have a significant impact on treatment and survival of patients with cardiac arrest.
“Junhwan Kim and his team are close to determining ways to better administer treatment following cardiac arrest,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute. “This has the potential to improve the lives of the nearly 300,000 Americans who suffer a cardiac arrest each year.”
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About the Feinstein Institute
The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is the research arm of Northwell Health, the largest healthcare provider in New York. Home to 50 research laboratories and to clinical research throughout dozens of hospitals and outpatient facilities, the 2,000 researchers and staff of the Feinstein are making breakthroughs in molecular medicine, genetics, oncology, brain research, mental health, autoimmunity, and bioelectronic medicine – a new field of science that has the potential to revolutionize medicine. For more information about how we empower imagination and pioneer discovery, visit FeinsteinInstitute.org.