First off in the news this week, we take a look at how long we should be working our cardiac arrest patients. A study out of Wake County, North Carolina is challenging the common perceptions regarding the short time frame for cardiac arrest management.

Working Harder & Longer In Resuscitation Attempts

CPRinAmbo_smAccording to the study, because many of their paramedics worked patients for longer than the protocol mandated 20 minutes, they saved 100 additional lives over a seven year period. That’s not just return of spontaneous circulation or ROSC patients folks. That is 100 patients who walked out of the hospital neurologically intact.

They found that even in patients in an asytole rhythm they could get some of them back by working them longer with high performance CPR and ACLS medications and treatment. Wake County EMS actually hired a specialized analytics lab to look at their data and see if their longer treatment program was resulting in an actual patient survival or just ROSC with later death in the hospital.

Improved Cardiac Arrest Survival Rate Is Possible

The advanced review by SAS Advanced Analytics Lab found that indeed, their program of longer CPR and code management ended in more patients surviving and said that over 100 patients were alive today over the last 7 years because of this type of care. This is good news. In recent years, Wake County EMS has improved cardiac arrest survival rates, doubling their prior statistics to 16% survival.

They respond to about 500 cardiac arrest calls each year and back in 2006 began implementing therapies like cooling the cardiac arrest patients after ROSC and using high performance CPR and Pit-crew approaches to managing the arrest. The good news for the rest of us in EMS is that they are showing that we are doing a better job with our cardiac arrest management when we do these things.

This study also shows that we can all do something to improve our survival rates. That starts with reviewing the data and looking at what’s working and what isn’t. You should know your jurisdiction’s cardiac arrest survival rates and what steps are being taken to improve at all times. Do you?

Followup on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – ACLS Review of Adenosine and MedicCast Episode 399.

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