Cardiologist Used Ethanol Shot to the Heart to Save British Man's Life


While he didn't condemn Johnson's decision to use an ethanol injection, Page said the procedure can be "difficult to control" and a "spillover" could cause "more damage than you intended or needed," meaning it could lead to a slightly greater selective heart attack.

"This is something you have to do electively," Page said. "This is not something you do on the fly in the middle of a cardiac arrest."

Johnson said using the radio frequency method would remain his first line of defense in treating VT, and the ethanol method would be an "adjunct" to that. However, he also said that he and his colleagues treat around 70 patients a year with the potentially fatal VT condition -- and on Christmas Eve alone, Johnson said he had treated eight emergency heart attack cases -- so the ethanol treatment could be used more frequently in the future.

"In our center, we're treating several hundred heart attack cases a year, so unfortunately, we're going to see more patients presenting with unstable heart conditions, so the fact that these treatments could be more common is a potential reality," he said.

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