Ground-breaking new heart attack drugs to be tried in Gippsland ambulances

By Mehroz Siraj

GIPPSLAND: After the tabling of the Victorian state budget next week, new drugs aimed at alleviating cardiac arrests amongst people in regional Victoria would be delivered to the Mobile Intensive Care Ambulance (MICA) paramedic staff in Gippsland, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reported on May 3.

The estimated cost of running the project would be $20million and would be included in the state budget, Ambulance Victoria’s Gippsland Chief Mick Stephenson told the ABC.

These new drugs would be provided to the paramedic staff as part of a pilot project aimed at reviewing their effectiveness in dissolving blood clouts in the pulmonary artery that supplies blood to the heart muscle, Stephenson said.

“The idea of these drugs is they work on the matrix which holds that clot together and they dissolve that clot down so that blood flow to the heart muscle is restored,” Stephenson said.

He further informed that drugs that were known to dilute and dissolve clots in the pulmonary artery had never been administered to patients in ambulances in Victoria ever before.

Previously, the inability to administer these life-saving drugs to patients in ambulances was fast becoming an issue due to the growing numbers of cardiac arrests in eastern Victoria, he said.

He further added that angiograms and the balloon therapies that were administered to patients in big cities like Melbourne were generally not available for patients in regional areas.

According to him, such a project was the need of the hour for Gippsland’s heart patients who had to usually travel to either Bairnsdale or Melbourne for treatment, usually under acute stress.

These new drugs would help save lives across regional Victoria, particularly in the state’s remote regions where medical facilities were not of a great standard, Stephenson said.

“It reduces the time of the coronary artery being opened and therefore reduces the amount of muscle damage and the amount of muscle death,” Stephenson informed, while commenting on the efficiencies of the drugs.

“About every half an hour saved in getting that vessel open reduces the death rate by seven-and-a-half per cent,” he added.

He said that this new pilot project would run in the Gippsland region for a few months, after which it would be rolled out to other regions and remote locations across Victoria.  


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