Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Double-blind study tests heart-rhythm drugs (USA)

In the next three years, about 400 people on the brink of death will be part of a study for which they did not volunteer. In Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark County in Washington state, paramedics responding to unconscious people in cardiac arrest will administer CPR, then shock with a defibrillator. That's standard procedure, but if that doesn't work, a paramedic will pull open a mystery packet of unlabeled syringes for injection. Inside will be either one of two heart-rhythm medications, or a simple saline solution - saltwater. Neither paramedics nor doctors will be told what the syringes contained. Researchers later will use bar codes on the syringe to see if survival rates differ between them

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