UNT Researchers Find Way to Protect Brain After Cardiac Arrest

The treatment could help victims of cardiac arrest avoid irreversible brain damage.

Abstract brain wave concept on blue background technology.

UNT Health Science Center researchers have discovered a treatment that could help preserve brain functioning after cardiac arrest.

cardiac arrest

Robert Mallet

More than 500,000 Americans suffer cardiac arrest each year, according to the university. During a cardiac event, the blood supply to the brain is interrupted, meaning it doesn’t receive the large amounts of oxygen and metabolic energy it needs. 

“Cardiac arrest is devastating because it severely injures the brain,” said Robert Mallet, a professor in the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease at UNTHSC, in a release.

With few treatments ready for use, patients enduring some form of brain damage after an attack is common. 

Researchers led by Mallet have found providing patients with an intravenous infusion of pyruvate, an energy fuel and antioxidant, could keep functional brain proteins intact. 

“Pyruvate could be an ideal brain protectant because it is effective in humans, is chemically stable, and has no adverse side effects,” Mallet said.

The treatment could help victims of cardiac arrest avoid irreversible brain damage. 


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