Intralipid may limit damage to heart attack victims

Washington: A human-made fat, Intralipid, currently used as a component of intravenous nutrition, may offer protection for patients suffering from heart attacks, say scientists.

Current treatment for a heart attack focuses on limiting the duration of the ischemic period, when blood flow to tissues is reduced, and on subsequently opening arteries to reestablish normal coronary blood flow.

Now, a team at the University of California has identified how Intralipid -- a fat emulsion made up of a combination of soy bean oil, egg phospholipids and glycerin that provides essential fatty acids -- can prevent extensive heart damage and help preserve heart function when used during the return of blood flow to the heart following heart attack.

This research shows that intralipid may help cell integrity and function when the body is under stress, such as during a heart attack, thus introducing a new way to decrease damage to the heart muscle due to reperfusion injury, say the scientists.

The findings may have implications for future therapies as the technique is not limited to the heart, researchers say, and could potentially be used for ischemic organs suffering a blockage in blood flow or for organs used for transplant.


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