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Control of free fatty acids during acute myocardial ischaemia
  1. Michael F Oliver
  1. Correspondence to Michael F Oliver, Professor Emeritus of Cardiology, University of Edinburgh Address: 12 Narrow Street, London E14 8DH, UK; michaeloliver{at}


During the onset of an acute coronary syndrome, an immediate increase in plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations presents the ischaemic underperfused myocardium with a metabolic challenge to its survival. For the maintenance of contraction and to counter ventricular arrhythmias, parenteral treatment to reduce FFA availability should be available for paramedics when the patient is first seen. The best treatment options are insulin which partly inhibits FFA release from adipose tissue, immediate reduction of adipose tissue lipolysis, perhaps by new analogues of nicotinic acid, or measures to decrease the FFA/molar binding ratio with albumin. None has yet been tested in appropriate clinical trials.

  • Acute myocardial ischaemia
  • catecholamines
  • free fatty acids
  • ventricular arrhythmias
  • sudden cardiac death
  • anti-lipolytic treatment
  • ventricular fibrillation
  • coronary physiology
  • myocardial viability

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.