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Circulation. 1986 Dec;74(6 Pt 2):IV94-7.

Calcium-channel blockers and advanced cardiac life support.


Calcium channel-blocking drugs have potent antiarrhythmic and antianginal effects and in addition may reduce the extent of cellular injury after anoxia/ischemia. Verapamil is the treatment of choice (90% effective) for uncomplicated episodes of paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. All three calcium-channel blockers available, diltiazem, nifedipine, and verapamil, can reduce the frequency of angina occurring both at rest and with exertion. Calcium may mediate several cytotoxic events during the reperfusion period after prolonged ischemia that lead to irreversible cell injury. There is experimental evidence that calcium-channel blockers may reduce the cellular influx of calcium after ischemia and reperfusion, and thereby attenuate cerebral and myocardial injury, although most studies have failed to show benefit of treatment unless the drug is administered before the onset of ischemia. Most trials using calcium-channel blockers in the setting of acute myocardial infarction have failed to show a benefit of treatment. The safety and efficacy of calcium-channel blockers have yet to be shown in controlled studies of human resuscitation, although the potential for such treatment, if it is effective in attenuating myocardial cerebral cellular injury, could be enormous.

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