First Aid CPR AED | Resuscitation organizations join forces to up cardiac arrest survival

The American Heart Association, Resuscitation Academy Foundation of Seattle, Washington, and Laerdal Medical have joined forces to create the Resuscitation Academy Collaborative, a group leading U.S. efforts to improve cardiac arrest survival. The move is part of a larger global effort to improve worldwide cardiac arrest survival by 50 percent.

The U.S. group and its international counterpart, the Global Resuscitation Alliance, were officially formed during the EMS2016 Congress earlier this year.

Cardiac arrest is a global public health problem, with about one million deaths a year in high-resource countries, according to a 2015 report.

“Survival from cardiac arrest is tragically and unacceptably low,” said Mickey S. Eisenberg MD, PhD, Medical Quality Improvement, King County EMS, Seattle and co-author of the paper that led to the Global Resuscitation Alliance, in a news release.

In the United States, more than 350,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests annually, with just a 12 percent survival rate from all rhythms causing cardiac arrest.

In 2013 Seattle and surrounding King County reached 62 percent survival for bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that causes the heart to effectively stop.

CPR can manually circulate a small amount of blood, and an automated external defibrillator, or AED, can shock the heart to help it resume an effective rhythm.

“One of the guiding principles of the Alliance is that communities can and must do better,” said Eisenberg. He said communities can increase survival from cardiac arrest by up to 50 percent.

Both the U.S. and international groups report that disparities in cardiac arrest treatment and the lack of trained bystanders in many communities are lowering survival, according to the news release.

“It takes a tremendous amount of coordination to shape systems of emergency care that perform optimally,” said John J. Meiners, chief of mission aligned business at the AHA.

The Resuscitation Academy Collaborative and Global Resuscitation Alliance offer four initial recommendations EMS departments should use to improve survival:

  • Speed dispatch of first responders to cardiac arrest emergencies.

  • Standardize dispatcher-assisted CPR, to help 911 call centers correctly identify cardiac arrest and walk callers through CPR.

  • Hands-Only CPR and conventional CPR can double or triple a cardiac response victim’s chance of survival, according to the AHA.

  • Improve CPR quality through regular individual and team practice of CPR, as recommended in the AHA’s 2015 resuscitation guidelines.

  • Secure commitment of community leaders improving cardiac arrest response and treatment. The Alliance will encourage the appropriate leaders to establish a model that will help EMS departments continuously evaluate and improve their cardiac arrest response.

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