Laughing Gas is safe for Heart Patients

By  , everydayHealth
Jun 20, 2013

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Surgeon placing an oxygen mask on the patientAccording to a new study, it has been found that nitrous oxide, laughing gas, doesn’t increase heart attack risk, in fact it is safe for patients with heart problems. This study from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that now doctors can even use laughing gas as an anesthetic, while conducting a heart surgery, contrary to previous concerns, nitrous oxide does not increase a patient’s risk of heart attack.

Researchers examined the cases of 500 surgery patients, who had been identified with heart attack risk factors like coronary artery disease and heart failure. All heart patients were given laughing gas. Some of the patients were also given intravenous vitamin B12 and folic acid to reduce their heart attack risk after surgery.

Earlier studies suggested that laughing gas causes rise in homocysteine levels that could lead to heart attacks. However, while vitamin B12 kept homocysteine levels in check, there was no effect on heart attack risk, as per this study.  Lead author Peter Nagele, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and genetics, in a press release, stated that there were no differences between the groups with regard to heart attack risk. The B vitamins kept homocysteine levels from rising, but that didn’t influence heart attack risk.

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