What Does Sodium Bicarbonate Do to the Heart?

Sodium bicarbonate is an antacid used to alleviate heartburn, stomach upset and acid indigestion. The use of other medications and the presence of other medical conditions like heart disease and hypertension should be considered before sodium bicarbonate use to avoid possible adverse effects, MayoClinic.com notes. Sodium bicarbonate is associated with positive effects on the heart. A study published in a 1996 issue of "The American Journal of Emergency Medicine" found sodium bicarbonate helped mitigate the adverse effects of acidemia associated with cardiac arrest.

Sodium bicarbonate helps prevent some complications after a heart attack. (Image: Monkey Business Images Ltd/Monkey Business/Getty Images)

Cardiac Function and Acidosis

Sodium bicarbonate helps alleviate the effects of acidosis, according to a study published in a 1990 issue of "The American Journal of Physiology." Acidosis occurs with excessive acidity in body fluids such as blood, which causes decreased cardiac function. The results of the study suggest that sodium bicarbonate helps alleviate the effects that acidosis has on your heart. However, more research is needed to better understand this process.

Sodium Bicarbonate and Cardiac Arrest

The routine use of sodium bicarbonate in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest is generally discouraged. However, evidence suggests that sodium bicarbonate use can protect your heart from some adverse effects associated with cardiac arrest, such as acidemia, according to a study published in a 1996 issue of "The American Journal of Emergency Medicine." The results of the study also suggest that sodium bicarbonate improves response to cardio medications, such as vasopressor agents. However, more research is needed to determine possible adverse effects caused by sodium bicarbonate when used to treat cardiac arrest.

Hemodynamic Effects

A study published in a 2003 issue of "Journal of Toxicology Clinical Toxicology" found that sodium bicarbonate helped improve myocardial function in dogs that suffered from cocaine toxicity, which can cause myocardial depression and arrhythmias due to cocaine's ability to block the sodium channels of your heart. Although sodium bicarbonate proved beneficial to the overall cardiac function of canines, more research is needed to determine whether the same will hold true for humans.

Possible Adverse Reactions

Sodium bicarbonate is generally considered safe. However, it has been associated with side effects such as increased urination, chronic headaches, appetite loss, mood swings, nausea, muscle pain and fatigue, MayoClinic.com notes. Stomach cramps and increased thirst are considered less common adverse reactions to sodium bicarbonate. Consult your doctor before using sodium bicarbonate to avoid possible adverse reactions. Only use sodium bicarbonate as directed by your doctor.

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