Recent rumblings within the medical community reveal that there could be a tainted batch of medication commonly used during surgical procedures that is causing patients’ hearts to stop after surgery.
The drug, protamine sulfate, is used to reverse the effects of the anti-coagulant, Heparin, and is administered after surgery to patients who undergo open-heart surgery. Protamine sulfate is also used to neutralize the body during a Heparin overdose.
Fresenius Kambi, USA, the manufacturer of protamine sulfate, advises that the drug be administered at a very slow rate in order to preempt any negative side effects, which include hypertension and bronchoconstriction in some patients. The manufacturer has not yet reported a link between this drug and acute heart failure.
“Our firm is actively investigating whether there is a link between protamine sulfate and cardiac trauma,” commented Megan McBride, an attorney with the Levin Papantonio law firm who practices in the areas of personal injury and products liability litigation. She continued, “if there is a link, patients and their treating physicians should be informed there may be risks associated with this drug.”
Of course, many patients may have been given protamine sulfate during surgery without being aware of the administration of the drug, as they are given several drugs before and during major surgeries.