RALEIGH, N.C.(WNCN) – When someone survives a heart attack, they can be faced with permanent heart damage. A group of researchers are working on reducing the size and, potentially irreversible, damage patients could face.

WakeMed Health & Hospitals has enrolled the first patient in the nation in what they’re calling a groundbreaking clinical trial. Known as AMIHOT III, the trial will evaluate the effectiveness of SuperSaturated Oxygen (SSO2) Therapy. SSO2 is believed to improve the function of the heart by reducing damage to the heart muscle following a heart attack.

SSO2 Therapy is used to improve blood flow through the tiny capillaries, restore heart tissue to normal oxygen levels and- reducing irreversible damage to the heart muscle. The therapy is a one-time, 60-minute infusion.

Dr. Frances Wood, WakeMed Heart & Vascular interventional cardiologist and co-director of the WakeMed Heart & Vascular – Structural Heart practice, is the Principal Investigator for the study at WakeMed. Wood was part of the original SSO2 trials in 2016. That study showed a 25 percent reduction in infarct size.

“We are very excited to continue to advance heart attack treatment at WakeMed and to offer innovative therapies to our patients,” said Wood.

The trial will enroll 434 patients across medical facilities in the United States and Europe.