A study aimed at finding the best way to treat people who have suffered a cardiac arrest outside of hospital will be conducted in the North East this year.
Traditionally, adrenaline has been used - but some research suggest this could actually be harmful.
The blinded study, developed by Warwick University, will see 50% of cardiac arrest patients in the North East given a saline solution.
The trial is already underway in the London Ambulance Service.
North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) will be starting the trial shortly.
The Welsh Ambulance Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service are also due to take part.
Sonia Byers, Research and Development Manager at NEAS, said: “Adrenaline has never been formally tested in humans with sufficient numbers to inform us reliably whether it is helpful or harmful. Given what we know it would be unethical to continue administering adrenaline without understanding the long term effects.”
Prof Peter Weissberg, British Heart Foundation medical director, said: “It is important to remember that whilst adrenaline is routinely used to treat a cardiac arrest, we don’t actually know whether this is a safe and effective practice. The concern is it could be doing patients more harm than good. The only way to answer this crucially important question is to do a well-designed clinical trial.
“It is always difficult to conduct a trial in situations where people are too ill to give their consent. But there are well established ethical guidelines for undertaking such studies.
“Only by undertaking difficult studies of this kind can we be sure that patients are receiving the highest possible standard of care and have the best chance of a good outcome.”
Patients who want to opt out of the trial can request a stainless steel bracelet which has the words ‘NO STUDY’ engraved on it by completing a form on the trial website www.warwick.ac.uk/paramedic2 or contacting the trial team directly by phone 024 76151164 or email firstname.lastname@example.org