How likely are you or your loved ones to suffer a cardiac arrest and, most importantly, how likely are you to survive this devastating and common event in the United States? The Institute of Medicine tells us just that in a new report, “Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act,” released this morning in Washington, D.C.
The Institute of Medicine report examines national data on the incidence and survival rates from cardiac arrest in the United States, assesses evidence on existing lifesaving therapies and recommends public health strategies that could save lives. Additionally, the report explores CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators, emergency medical services and hospital resuscitation systems of care and resuscitation research.
Two University of Arizona Department of Emergency Medicine researchers are co-authors of the report: Arthur B. Sanders, MD, MHA, professor and a member of the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) – Tucson and the Institute of Medicine, and Bentley J. Bobrow, MD, professor and co-director, AEMRC – Phoenix, and medical director for the Arizona Department of Health Services, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System.
Although the terms often are used interchangeably, cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops due to a disturbance in the electrical activity of the heart that results in loss of mechanical function. The person almost instantaneously loses consciousness. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to an area of the heart is blocked by a narrowed or completely obstructed coronary artery.
Dr. Bobrow notes that cardiac arrest can affect anyone, anytime, often without warning and survival rates with good neurologic function in most places are low.
“The UA has been a vanguard in cardiac resuscitation, both basic and translational research for more than 15 years,” said Dr. Bobrow. “We have a truly unique statewide university-public health department/EMS system relationship, which has allowed the efficient "bench-to-bedside" implementation of life-saving therapies, which have quadrupled survival in Arizona for what is the leading cause of death in the United States – sudden cardiac arrest.
“This collaboration and development of a ‘system of care for cardiac arrest’ have resulted in over 2,500 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survivors in Arizona over the past decade, as well as shaping the national and international resuscitation guidelines,” said Dr. Sanders. “The Resuscitation Research Group of the UA Sarver Heart Center, including Drs. Gordon Ewy and Karl Kern, were pioneers in the efforts to improve survival in Arizona and help Arizona become a leader nationally in the approach to the treatment of patients suffering cardiac arrest. While there is always room for improvement, much of what is recommended in the IOM report is currently being done in Arizona.”
The Sarver Heart Center Resuscitation Research Group has developed several free education resources for the general public and specific groups such as teens and African Americans.
EDITORS/HEALTH REPORTERS PLEASE NOTE:
The Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, released the report today at 8 a.m. Arizona time. That announcement can be seen at: http://www.iom.edu/Activities/PublicHealth/TreatmentofCardiacArrest/2015-June-30.aspx.
Dr. Bobrow will be available at 9 a.m. to discuss the report at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, 435 N. Fifth St. Cara Christ, MD, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, also will be available on Tuesday to discuss the novel public health approach to measuring and improving cardiac resuscitation in Arizona over the past decade.
In Tucson, Dr. Sanders and Charles Cairns, MD, interim dean of the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, both emergency medicine researchers, will be available to speak about the unique “bench-to-bedside” approach to advance the science of resuscitation and improve cardiac arrest survival in Arizona.