February 17, 2012 -- Recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article called “The Ultimate Lifesaver,” which highlights the current strides being taken by ambulance services and emergency medical systems to improve their mobile care. Acadian Ambulance has actually been implementing many of the innovative methods highlighted in the article, and more, for quite some time.
The article states that many 911 call centers are now being trained to instruct bystanders on how to conduct CPR on a patient in an effort to increase patient survival rates. When someone calls 911 and is transferred to Acadian’s dispatch centers, they have the benefit of receiving precise instructions on current CPR techniques in cases of cardiac arrest, due to the fact that all of Acadian’s dispatchers are certified by the National Registry of EMTs and are emergency dispatcher certified.
Because of the time critical nature of cardiac arrest, Acadian has developed a very aggressive CPR response system that allows them to accurately and efficiently direct the bystander on the best way to administer care to the patient and begin the resuscitation process. This greatly impacts the survival rate of their cardiac arrest patients because they can help identify patients that are in arrest or near arrest situations when they were not called in as such. This in itself has been one of the most beneficial processes to improve patient survivals in all of Acadians dispatch areas.
Also mentioned in the article is the new digital transmission systems that send electrocardiogram readings to a hospital prior to a patient’s arrival so they can get speedier treatment once they get there. Acadian has a Cardiac Alert system on their ambulances, which wirelessly transmits 12-lead EKGs to hospital emergency rooms. Utilizing these monitors allows hospital staff to immediately begin treatment when Acadian enters their doors. This reduces door-to-balloon time, which results in more heart muscle saved, in turn saving more lives.
What is even more interesting to note is that when Acadian’s survival rates for cardiac arrests are compared to the story’s best reported numbers in the country, Acadian Ambulance’s survival rates are one of the highest. Acadian uses the Utstein criteria to gauge its success rates, which is the national standard.
"We are proud of the success rates we have had with cardiac arrest resuscitation, which make us one of the top resuscitation agencies in the world,” says Dr. Charles Burnell, M.D., Acadian’s medical director. Dr. Burnell has over 16 years of experience in the field of emergency medicine and is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine.
The national success rate for cardiac arrest resuscitation is less than 10%, while Acadian’s is 27.4%. What is so impressive about Acadian’s survival rate is that it is derived from a predominately rural area; this comes with increased distance between hospitals, much larger service areas, and logistically much more difficult terrain to navigate than urban systems. Despite the challenges of operating in rural areas, Acadian still manages to have resuscitation rates much higher than most of the largest urban systems in the world. This is a testament to how well Acadian has been able to balance and leverage technology, personnel and training to realize such tremendous resuscitation rates.