Osler-led FIRST study aims to minimize damage in heart attack patients

Each year, people across Canada suffer more than 70,000 heart attacks, resulting in more than 14,000 deaths.

The Osler-led FIRST study [Field Implementation of the autoRIC Device in STEMI (ST-segment Acute Myocardial Infarction)] aims to lessen the long-term effects of heart attacks by using a non-invasive therapy that triggers the body’s own defence mechanisms to protect heart attack patients against heart damage.

The FIRST Study is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. It brings together teams from across the health care industry, including Peel Regional Paramedic Services, Halton Regional Paramedic Services, Trillium Health Partners, and the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine, with support from Rescu and the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. The non-invasive autoRIC® device used in the study was developed by CellAegis Devices in Toronto, specialists in medical devices for heart conditions.

Supported by the Health Technology Exchange-led “Resources for Evaluating, Adopting and Capitalizing on Innovative Healthcare Technology” (REACH) funding program, the study will evaluate the benefits of this novel therapy in the Halton-Peel region. Patients experiencing a heart attack will be treated with the autoRIC® device either in the ambulance or in the emergency departments of Brampton Civic Hospital or Trillium Health Partners. This treatment will be added to the standard treatment for heart attacks.

“The FIRST Study will allow us to gather evidence to evaluate the value of the autoRIC® device in real-world conditions and support its potential adoption by the health care system,” says Dr. Ronald Heslegrave, Chief of Research at Osler. “The support provided by the REACH program allowed many partners to collaborate in this joint venture to find innovative approaches to deliver better heart health to our community and the province.”

Osler’s research program is establishing itself as a respected evaluation platform where new technologies and innovative care can be rigorously assessed.