The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is touting a study that found the use of life support improved survival in certain cardiac arrest patients.
Published in The Lancet, the study, known as the Advanced Reperfusion Strategies for Refractory Cardiac Arrest (ARREST) trial, used the life support machine called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation ECMO to replicate the functions of the heart and lungs to improve the survival of people who suffered from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to a news release.
NIH said the use of ECMO proved so much more effective than the standard treatment for the often fatal condition that the trial was stopped early after 30 patients were enrolled, even though it was expected that there would be 165 patients enrolled.
The study, funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), found that using ECMO resulted in the survival of six of 14 patients, compared to just one of 15 patients receiving standard treatment, which usually includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation, defibrillation, intubation and intravenous medications.
“This is the first trial to show a significant difference in outcomes after hospital admission among patients treated for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with a team-based ECMO strategy,” NHLBI division of cardiovascular sciences program director Dr. George Sopko said in the release. “We can improve outcomes for this common health condition, and we believe this study is a significant step in that direction.”
The ARREST trial compared treatments in subjects for whom the average age was 61, with 25 of 30 patients being men. The ECMO machine was connected to a patient by tubes inserted in an artery and vein in the groin and is designed to pull blood out of the body, pump it through a part of the machine functioning as an artificial lung, then return it to the body.
ARREST’s data and safety monitoring board recommended in June that the study be halted with the improvement in survival, but researchers are still monitoring the survivors, finding that the majority treated with ECMO improved functionally and neurologically for six months then returned to a near-normal life.
“The favorable survival rate in this study is very encouraging and is helping to pioneer new pathways in advanced cardiac care and transform outcomes for patients with cardiac arrest,” ARREST co-investigator Dr. Tom P. Aufderheide said.
ECMO therapy has recently been touted as effective in certain cases with patients suffering from COVID-19. In April, the FDA authorized LivaNova’s cardiopulmonary products for use in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) therapy greater than six hours to treat people with severe cases of COVID-19.
In the months that followed, Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Abiomed (NSDQ:ABMD) followed suit, with the former temporarily modifying product indications so that health providers can use ECMO for COVID-19 patients, while the latter garnered FDA 510(k) clearance for its Breethe OXY-1 system which uses ECMO technology and can be used for those with the virus.