(Ivanhoe Newswire) – A chemical found in IV bags and catheters might
be putting patients’ hearts at risk.
New research out of Johns Hopkins finds this chemical – called cyclohexanone
– may be leaching out of the plastics used to make these devices and ending
up in the fluids meant to help people get better when they are in the
hospital. In a study involving rats, the chemical resulted in a slower
pumping of less blood, weaker heart contractions, and increased fluid
retention and swelling.
The symptoms seen in the rats are the same as those often seen in patients
following heart bypass surgery. Other symptoms include loss of taste and
memory, which might also be linked to the chemical.
In fact, the research itself was spurred by a physician who himself had some
of these symptoms following his own bypass operation. “I’m a chocoholic, and
after my bypass surgery everything tasted awful, and chocolate tasted like
charcoal for months,” lead author Artin Shoukas, Ph.D., was quoted as
He stops far short, however, of suggesting people forego bypass surgery to
avoid these symptoms. “On the contrary, such technologies are life-saving
medical advances, and their benefits still far outweigh the risks of the
associated side effects. As scientists, we are simply trying to understand
how the side effects are triggered and what the best method will be to
mitigate, and ultimately remedy, these morbidities.”
SOURCE: American Journal of Physiology, published online May 1, 2009