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Heart Attack! Cardiac Arrest! GranuFlo.

Istock.com, Mikhail Mishchenko.jpgWhat’s the difference between a “heart attack” and sudden “cardiac arrest”? Did you know that your heart runs on electricity? And why does that fact matter anyway, to someone whose loved one died while receiving GranuFlo, or shortly thereafter?

Cardiac arrest is a stoppage of the pumping action of the heart. In a sense, everyone dies from cardiac arrest. However, not everyone has a cardiac arrest from a “heart attack” caused by the blockage of a blood vessel to the heart. Other causes of cardiac arrest may include intense physical activity, major blood loss, severe lack of oxygen and electrical changes in the heart from electrolyte imbalances.

Yes, everyone’s heart runs on electricity. The tiny electric charge that makes the heart beat–each and every beat–is from electricity from “electrolytes” the chemicals Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium and Calcium circulating in the blood in all of us. These chemicals are “The Big Four”. If they are not in the blood in the right balance, the electrical impulse that triggers each beat of the heart can go haywire and then stop. Cardiac arrest.

Dialysis patients are not at increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest from intense physical activity during dialysis because they are resting in a chair. Dialysis patients are also not at risk for a major blood loss during dialysis because the blood cleansing is done in a slowly, steadily over a number of hours. Dialysis patients are no more at risk of a severe lack of oxygen than anyone else in the room – nurses, technicians and family members.

But what about The Big Four? Are dialysis patients at increased risk of electrolyte imbalance leading to cardiac arrest? They can be if they receive a drug that puts them at increased risk.

Dialysis patients must receive certain chemicals to cleanse the blood. One of those chemicals – acetate – can lead to Potassium imbalance that leads to electrical problems in the heart that leads to heartbeat problems that causes the heart to stop. If this all sounds to you like the nursery rhyme “The House That Jack Built” you are right on target.

GranuFlo is a dialysis product that was often used before a 2012 FDA recall. GranuFlo has a chemical in it called acetate. Acetate in the blood is converted to bicarbonate in the blood. Therefore, GranuFlo has the ability to increase the amount of bicarbonate circulating in the blood. Too much bicarbonate circulating in the blood causes Potassium blood levels to drop. Low blood levels of Potassium leads to electrical shutdown, and electrical shutdown means the heart stops beating. Cardiac arrest.

Product liability trial lawyers have to know more than product liability laws. A good product liability lawyer taking on a wrongful death case for a family against a drug company also has to know the chemistry and biology that lead to the death. Otherwise, the drug company may win the case before the lawyer ever has a chance to talk to the jury about what matters most–the loss of a loved one.

If someone close to you died during dialysis treatment or soon after due to a heart attack or cardiac arrest, give the attorneys at Briggs & Wholey, LLC a call toll free at (888) 596-1099. The knowledgeable Rockport personal injury lawyers at Briggs & Wholey have more than 50 years of combined experience representing people who suffered a serious or life-threatening injury in Maine. At Briggs & Wholey, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced advocate, please contact Briggs & Wholey, LLC through our website today

Photo Credit: IStock Photos, Mikhail Mishchenko