Portland Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates Increasing; Better CPR Cited

Portland Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates Increasing; Better CPR Cited

News Nov 28, 2012

Nov. 27--Improvements in technique and technology are helping Portland's emergency medical personnel rescue significantly more heart attack victims by increasing the effectiveness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, that they provide.

The survival rate for cardiac patients treated and transported by Portland Fire Department's MEDCU workers jumped to 17 percent so far this year. Last year, 6 percent of the cardiac patients survived.

"This represents a tremendous improvement in our system," said Matthew Sholl, head of emergency medicine for Maine Medical Center and the fire department's medical director. That compares to an average national survival rate of about 6 percent, with individual departments ranging from 2.2 to 16.6 percent, he said.

Sholl was speaking to a group of firefighters Tuesday at the Stevens Avenue Armory as part of the department's grand rounds, a monthly exercise where they share lessons learned in major cases from the previous month.

Last month, the department responded to five cardiac arrests, saving two of them. One was an 81- year-old woman and the other a 71-year-old man. In both cases, they were discharged from the hospital after surgery, with little or no neurological damage, he said.

The improved survival rate stems from new techniques advocated by the American Heart Association, said Lt. John Kooistra, the department's quality assurance officer. Instead of trying to get a patient into the ambulance and to the hospital as quickly as possible, firefighters now deliver 20 minutes of uninterrupted CPR.

That has been shown to improve survival rates by keeping the blood flowing to vital organs, Kooistra said. Even brief interruptions, to move a patient down stairs or into the ambulance, can have serious consequences, he said.

The department also has invested in new technology, devices that monitor the frequency and depth of CPR compressions. If the person delivering CPR doesn't press down far enough, the blood won't get pushed out to the organs that need it, he said. If the compressions are too rapid, the heart won't refill with blood. If compressions aren't ot rapid enough, the organs lack adequate oxygen.

The devices not only alert firefighters if the CPR is too shallow or too rapid, but also keep a record of it so the department can review its practice later, Kooistra said.

Copyright 2012 - Portland Press Herald, Maine

Continue Reading
Portland Press Herald, Maine
David Hench
Heavy traffic forces a childbirth in a familiar location.
The funds will be divided between the State Firefighter Association, the State Fire Marshal Association and the Assist the Officer Foundation of Houston in gratitude for their public service.
DMI announces the launch of EndZone, a cloud-based platform for mobile-centric situational awareness, delivering increased responsiveness and efficiency in emergency situations.
First responders are encouraged to link the website to their pages, as the service allows users to reconnect with loved ones in the aftermath of a natural disaster, such as Hurricane Maria.
The city of Twin Falls wants to place AED locations on its online public map after first responders informed officials of the importance of immediate AED use in a medical emergency.
First responders and legislators from Niagara County are saying too many areas are underserved and have to be covered by fire companies, calling for the need for additional ambulance services.
IV Tylenol, Motrin and Toradol will now be added to the options of ice and fentanyl for patient pain treatment during hospital transports to prevent opioid addiction.
Patients from the Caribbean islands in need of hospitals are being sent to South Carolina, where it's the first time the SCFC Incident Management Team has been activated for a disaster assistance response.

After the service atĀ Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Nashville, Tennessee had ended, a man wearing a ski mask drove up to the church and shot its attendees, killing one woman and injuring six others.

NHTSA's new video follows EMS data from its collection through its use to improve future care.
First Priority Global, one of the country's leading suppliers of public safety, emergency response and clean transportation solutions, announces the opening of a new facility inĀ Flanders, NJ.
Christopher Wimmer was sentenced to jail time and probation for taking photos with 41 unconscious patients in a selfie competition he was in with another paramedic.
Students say the mock DUI accident was a very realistic learning experience, especially when firefighters, EMTs and police arrived at the scene.
The Columbia County EMS provider oversees emergency efforts from Lake City EOC during the latest storm.
EMTs, firefighters and police officers dealt with a car accident causing the release of sulfur dioxide and an active shooter in a hospital.