Researchers Partner with Local Fire/EMS Agencies for Seizure Study

As part of a nationwide study, researchers at the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute at University Hospital have partnered with Cincinnati Fire Department (CFD) paramedics and five other fire departments locally to find a better way to treat people with life-threatening seizures.

Cincinnati is one of 17 cities across the country participating in RAMPART, the Rapid Anticonvulsant Medication Prior to Arrival Trial. The study, which began last summer, compares lorazepam and midazolam, two medicines commonly used to treat status epilepticus. Status epilepticus, or SE, is a life-threatening type of seizure that lasts for more than five minutes.

“We know that SE can be dangerous, even fatal, if not treated early,” says Jason McMullan, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine. “In RAMPART, we are giving paramedics the tools they need to help these people before they even make in to the Emergency Department.”

Locally, more than 70 people have been treated in the trial by participating fire departments, 59 from the CFD alone. More than 520 have been treated nationally.

“Cincinnati Fire Department has been a great partner,” says Emergency Medicine Professor and Vice Chairman Arthur Pancioli, MD, who is leading RAMPART efforts in Cincinnati. “Cincinnati Fire is one of the most active fire departments in the country in the RAMPART trial.”

“We have also had tremendous support for the study from Blue Ash, Green Township, Forest Park, Florence and Independence fire departments in the Cincinnati area,” Dr. McMullan says.

“I think that our intense training and preparation, combined with diligent patient care, has made us successful so far,” says CFD District Chief Alan Sedam, who oversees EMS operations.  “Our paramedics have enthusiastically adopted this partnership with University Hospital to lead the development of new and better ways to treat our patients.”

Because the trial operates under the FDA federal regulation called “exception from informed consent,” paramedics are able to enroll patients into the study when they cannot speak for themselves because of their life-threatening injury or illness. Such FDA regulations are strict and the research must meet very specific federal regulations and local Institutional Review Board review and approval, as well as community education about the study.

The RAMPART study is part of the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials, a permanent research network that involves 17 university medical centers throughout the United States.

For more information about RAMPART, visit http://rampart.umich.edu/rampart/welcome or call (513) 558-0095.

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