SMMC now offering novel SuperSaturated Oxygen Therapy to patients suffering from massive heart attacks

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

SMMC first in state to offer treatment, which works to reduce muscle damage in heart attack patients after surgical intervention

St. Mary’s Medical Center (SMMC), a member of Mountain Health Network, is now offering SuperSaturated Oxygen (SSO2) Therapy, the first and only FDA-approved therapy that could reduce muscle damage in heart attack patients after surgical intervention. SMMC is the first hospital in West Virginia to offer the treatment.

A heart attack is typically caused when the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart is blocked or reduced. Blood flow can be quickly restored with surgical intervention via angioplasty and stenting, but for many patients, irreversible damage to the heart muscle, called infarction, can occur. SSO2 Therapy delivers high levels of dissolved oxygen directly to the damaged heart muscle immediately after the coronary artery has been successfully opened via angioplasty and stenting. This process improves microvascular blood flow and reduces damage to the heart muscle.

The therapy is indicated for patients who suffer the most serious kind of heart attacks commonly known as widowmakers due to their high mortality rate, and who are treated within six hours of symptom onset.

“These most serious heart attacks often cause such severe damage to the heart that, if the patient survives, they remain at high risk for developing heart failure in the future,” said Melissa Mielcarek, MSHA, MBA, executive director of the St. Mary’s Cardiovascular Center of Excellence. “We’re pleased to be able to offer this new therapy to help improve patient outcomes by minimizing damage to the heart.”

St. Mary’s Regional Heart Institute was named a MHN Center of Excellence in October 2019. To be named a MHN Center of Excellence, the clinical area must be recognized by the medical community, the public and accrediting bodies as providing the most expert and highest level of compassionate and innovative care.

According to the American Heart Association, every year approximately 800,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks. Up to 30 percent of heart attack patients develop heart failure within one year. SSO2 Therapy has been shown in multiple randomized prospective clinical trials to consistently and safely reduce damage and scarring (infarct size) in widowmaker heart attack patients. Decades of research on heart attack patients has demonstrated that infarct size reduction is correlated with reduced mortality and heart failure and better heart function.

SSO2 Therapy was developed by Irvine, California-based ZOLL TherOx and is the first and only FDA-approved treatment beyond percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) to significantly reduce muscle damage in heart attack patients.

To learn more about St. Mary’s Regional Heart Institute, visit