Windham Hospital Physician Leads Clinical Trial
for Heart Attack Treatment
WILLIMANTIC — Carin Van Gelder, MD (now EMS Medical Director at Windham Hospital) recently coordinated an innovative national study supported by the NIH National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute involving a glucose-insulin-potassium, “GIK” solution for patients experiencing symptoms such as chest pains. The study surveyed patients from 13 communities nationwide, including New Haven, where Van Gelder served at Yale University and Yale-New Haven Hospital. Working with the team were staff members from the Hospital of St. Raphael’s and EMS personnel working under the auspices of the New Haven Sponsor Hospital Program (NHSHP).
According to the study, the researchers found that the intravenous medication of patients with GIK within the first hour did not prevent the heart attack from happening. But other promising results showed that the size of the heart attack was smaller, and there were fewer cardiac arrests or deaths when the patients received the GIK.
Compared to a typical scenario, where 10 percent of the heart muscle is lost as a result of heart attack, in those receiving GIK, only 2 percent was lost, and a 50 percent reduction in cardiac arrests and death was noted. The GIK treatment was administered in the ambulance and continued for 12 hours during hospitalization at a total cost of about $50.
“Our local EMS providers were a key part of the study that has demonstrated that the severity of heart attacks can be reduced by the early administration of a simple solution of glucose-insulin-potassium.” said Dr. Van Gelder. “Hundreds of thousands of patients across the nation die from heart attacks each year. Our community was part of an important investigation that yielded promising results for patients locally and across the country.”
The findings of the study were presented at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting in Chicago on March 27, 2012, and were simultaneously published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Windham Hospital is a 130-bed acute care hospital serving thousands of people in northeastern Connecticut. For nearly 80 years, Windham Hospital has been renowned for its outstanding physicians and extraordinary nursing care and today offers a unique combination of talent and technology in patient care as a member of Hartford HealthCare, Connecticut’s premier health care system.