Patients suffering from seizures might receive treatment in a different manner on their way to the hospital as a result of a national study that involved York Hospital and local ambulance crews.
York Hospital and local advanced life support units participated in a clinical trial in which paramedics treated patients with a single emergency shot of Midazolam in the leg, similar to the way that EpiPens are used to treat allergic reactions.
Current protocol allows for three different medications to be used to stop seizures, but only paramedics can administer them, said Dr. Douglas Kupas, Pennsylvania's EMS Medical Director.
Now the protocol might change so that providers who have less training than a paramedic are allowed to administer the medication, according to Kupas.
"The big advantage is to give the shot into the muscle, which is a lot easier than starting an IV in a seizuring person," he said.
The study was not designed to prove one medication was better than another, Kupas said. However, the results indicated a slight advantage in intramuscular Midazolam.
Seizures generally lasted for 90 seconds after patients were given a shot of Midazolam, but an average of five minutes after the administration of IV lorazepam, the study found.
"The shorter the seizure time, the better it is for the patient," said Dr. Dan Bledsoe, manager and associate medical director of Medic 97 with WellSpan. "The longer the seizure, the greater the risk it will intensify and the patient will develop complications."
He believes the study's results will move the Food and Drug Administration to make one of intramuscular Midazolam's recognized uses the treatment of seizures, and to approve a device similar to an EpiPen to deliver the medication.
Bledsoe said York Hospital had 26 patients in the study, which began in August 2009 and ended in January 2011.
The paramedic units that received medical direction from York Hospital for the study were York Hospital Medic 97, Grantley Fire Co. EMS, Jacobus Lions Ambulance, West York Ambulance, and White Rose Ambulance.
The national study included 79 hospitals. The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February.
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.