Ironical as it sounds, a recent study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles and funded by National Institutes of Health suggests that a certain man-made "fat" would help heart attack victims limit the damage caused to cardiac tissue in the recovery phase.
Preclinical studies at UCLA found that the artificial fat called Intralipid, which is generally given to treat cases of overdose of anesthesia, could help heart attack victims during their immediate post-attack phase of recovery.
Intralipid is a chemical compound derived from a combination of soybean oil, egg phospholipids and glycerine that provide essential fatty acids and are usually used as components of intravenous nutrition.
This preclinical study was published in the August online edition of the peer‑reviewed journal Anesthesiology. Per the research, Intralipid could potentially prevent major damage to the heart tissues and aid in the restoration of heart function especially during the phase of return of blood flow to the heart immediately following a heart attack (i.e. during the reperfusion phase). (1)
It has been a known observance in the medical fraternity that the heart could undergo extensive damage, a phenomenon known as reperfusion injury, whereby both oxygen and nutrients in the blood rush back to the deprived cardiac cells that were effected during the attack. Reperfusion injuries are more common during performance of invasive procedures such as angioplasty, stenting or heart transplants.
The study showed that Intralipid administration in the treatment phase immediately after the attack increased phosphorylation levels of glycogen compounds manifolds. It also exhibited that at the cell level, the opening of permeability pore of the mitochondria was inhibited as more calcium retention was now possible for the cell, and this was exactly what protected the heart. (2)
This finding of the preclinical study has opened new vistas of speculation and probing. According to the research scientists, the technique utilised could possibly be used for any ischemic organ experiencing a blockage in blood flow or those that require transplant.