I wonder if the scene in the movie Pulp Fiction, where a girl (Marsellus Wallace's wife), in a bad health situation after taking too much heroin, is brought to life by a direct prick of adrenalin in her heart is a real "medical" practice or it's just a joke from the scenarist.
There's a Straight Dope column that covers this question, it notes that there is an element of truth to the scene:
doctors honest to God do on (rare) occasion jab a big hypodermic of epinephrine, AKA adrenaline, directly into the heart of someone who's gone into cardiac arrest, a technique called intracardiac injection (ICI).
I found a few articles on ICI:
- Feasibility of intracardiac injection of drugs during cardiac arrest
- Effective routes of drug administration during cardiac arrest
The Straight Dope article goes on to point out a number of inaccuracies with the scene, including:
3: Mia's problem probably isn't cardiac arrest anyway — the immediate consequence of heroin overdose is severe respiratory depression. As long as her heart keeps beating, ICI is pointless. If Mia needs an injection of something, a plain old intravenous shot will work just fine, since her blood is still circulating.
National Institute of Health - Heroin overdose
4: Epinephrine wouldn't sober up someone who was ODing. To neutralize heroin you'd administer a drug such as Narcan (naloxone), which blocks the opiate receptors in the brain and can bring a junkie back to earth in a matter of minutes.
British Medical Journal - Degree and Duration of Reversal by Naloxone of Effects of Morphine in Conscious Subjects
Finally, for a more realistic portrayal of heroin overdose I'd recommend this scene from Trainspotting note - contains swearing (and drug use).
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protected by Community♦ Jun 6 '13 at 13:47
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