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Heart Attack Survival Much Higher If Followed Treatment Guidelines

Armen Hareyan's picture

A new study finds that recent guidelines outlined by the American Heart Association (AHA) for treatments used by emergency and critical care medical practitioners on heart attack patients has lead to substantial improvements in survival rates. The findings show that, when fully implemented, the treatment protocol increased the odds of survival nearly four-fold for victims of cardiac arrest.

The study, led by Drs. Paul Hinchey, Brent Myers of the Wake County EMS System in Raleigh, N.C, is the first comprehensive evaluation of 2005 American Heart Association guidelines on the use of compression, ventilation and induced hypothermia after community-wide implementation. The results are based on the outcomes of adults treated for cardiac arrest by emergency responders in an urban/suburban emergency medical services system with existing advanced life support.

The authors highlight the benefits of a healthcare community being able to implement a comprehensive care plan for victims of cardiac arrest "from the living room of the victim's home to the intensive care unit (ICU)."

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The essential elements of this plan were a focus on simple, continuous cardiac compressions, controlled ventilations, early utilization of induced hypothermia and transport of resuscitated patients to specialized post-resuscitation hospitals.

There is ample evidence to support the use of continuous compressions and induced hypothermia. However, unlike previous studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of individual interventions on a study population, this study demonstrates the substantial impact that comprehensive implementation of a multi-disciplinary treatment protocol can have on a community.

"Our findings not only demonstrate beneficial outcomes for victims of cardiac arrest, but also suggest the possibility that such treatment plans can be implemented for other medical conditions," say the authors.

The presentation is entitled "Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Survival after the Sequential Implementation of 2005 AHA Guidelines for Compressions, Ventilations, and Induced Hypothermia." This paper will be presented at the 2008 SAEM Annual Meeting, May 29-June 1, 2008,Washington, D.C. on Friday, May 30, 2008, in the oral paper presentations from 2:00 - 3:30 pm in the Virginia A & B rooms of the Marriott Wardman Park hotel. Abstracts of the papers presented are published in Vol. 15, No. 5, Supplement 1, May 2008 of the official journal of the SAEM, Academic Emergency Medicine.