Science 3 min read

Adrenaline Shots Found to Cause Brain Damage in Cardiac Arrest Patients

Andrey_Popov /

Andrey_Popov /

A recent study suggests that the adrenaline shots used on cardiac arrest patients are more likely to cause health problems than benefits.

A new study conducted by doctors on over 8,000 people across the United Kingdom revealed that the adrenaline shots which were given to patients suffering cardiac arrest increase their survival rate by less than 1 percent. However, what’s even more alarming is that the treatment could nearly double the risk of permanent brain damage to the patient.

Every year, more than 30,000 individuals suffer from cardiac arrest in the U.K. alone. Out of this number, only 10 percent reportedly survive long enough to be discharged from hospitalization. Annually, there are also around 475,000 Americans who die from heart attacks.

Adrenaline shots are usually given to cardiac arrest victims to attempt to restart the heart when CPR and defibrillation fail to revive the victims.

Read More: Google AI Predicts Heart Disease and Stroke From Retinal Images

For the three-year study, doctors gave patients from England and Wales an adrenaline or saltwater solution injection. The trial revealed that out of the 4,012 patients that received adrenaline shots, only 130 patients (3.2%) were alive 30 days after the treatment.

Conversely, 94 patient (2.4%) of the 3,995 patients that were given saltwater solution survived.

However, out of the 130 patients from the adrenaline group that was discharged, 39 had severe brain damage as compared to the 16 from the placebo group.

“What we’ve shown is that adrenaline can restart the heart, but it is no good for the brain,” Gavin Perkins, one of the authors of the study from the University of Warwick, said.

“Make no mistake, the results of this landmark trial will change the way people are treated if, unfortunately, their heart should stop,” David Nunan, a senior researcher from the University of Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine who’s not part of the study, commented. “Until now, everyone who’s been eligible to receive adrenaline would have been given it without question. That can no longer be the case.”

The researchers admitted that their study had raised significant ethical issues. Apparently, the urgency of injecting adrenaline shots during cardiac arrest situations has made it impossible for medical practitioners to seek the consent of patients for them to take part in the trial before the treatment.

Instead, the researchers had the family of surviving patients contacted afterward for consent. The researchers also added that before the trial began, a public awareness campaign about the study was launched to inform the people and gave them the chance to opt out.

Would you give your consent to be injected with an adrenaline shot if you suffer from cardiac arrest knowing that it could cause permanent brain damage?

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

Found this article interesting?

Let Chelle Fuertes know how much you appreciate this article by clicking the heart icon and by sharing this article on social media.

Profile Image

Chelle Fuertes

Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

Comments (0)
Most Recent most recent
share Scroll to top

Link Copied Successfully

Sign in

Sign in to access your personalized homepage, follow authors and topics you love, and clap for stories that matter to you.

Sign in with Google Sign in with Facebook

By using our site you agree to our privacy policy.