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Cardiac Arrest Survival: Thirty Years of Change without any Changes

Cardiac Arrest Survival: Thirty Years of Change without any Changes...Yes, you guessed it. I going to take yet another shot at the American Heart Association. UPI is reporting on a study by the University of Michigan that states cardiac arrest survival rates have not changed in thirty-years. This despite all the CPR and ACLS cards issued to and paid for by emergency service responders.

The study concluded the chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has not improved since the 1950s. As quoted from the original UPI article:
"Increasing bystander CPR rates, increasing the awareness and use of devices to shock the heart and keeping paramedics on scene until they restore a person's pulse needs to occur if we are ever going to change our dismal survival rate," Dr. Comilla Sasson, the study's lead author, said in a statement.
Now lets take a look back...how many CPR changes have we seen...all with a new book ($$) and another class (more $$)...and can someone tell me why we have to PAY for CPR training? How about all the "research" that causes us to change the procedures we do (advanced airway, for example) or the medication changes we have to endure. High dose Epi, Vasopressin, Amiodarone, Verapamil, bicarb or not, Lido or not...in what order...and don't forget...the research (sarcasm) will tell you that everything you know and have been doing will be totally wrong and deadly tomorrow! So run out and take another class and buy another book. Because you can see the results of all the cardiac arrests we saving.

Too many systems still gauge effectiveness based on cardiac resuscitation rates. Nothing could set us up for failure more than this unrealistic expectation. Why do we expect responders to show up and correct decades or a lifetime of disease that caused the cardiac arrest? We'll work on a cardiac arrest victim for a while with limited resources in the field and then turn them over to the ED. Yet, if they don't walk out of the hospital...we didn't "save" them. How can this make any sense?  A majority of what Paramedics carry in terms of medications and equipment is aimed at the cardiac arrest patient.

And despite what we know and do, we're not making much of a difference.

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