ER Physicians Press for New Cardiac Arrest Strategies

More bystander CPR, faster patient-to-doctor time would boost survival rates, survey finds

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FRIDAY, Nov. 7, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- Ninety percent of U.S. emergency physicians believe that resuscitation practices aren't very effective and support a number of strategies designed to improve resuscitation for people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest, according to a survey released Friday by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Of the 1,056 who responded to the State of Resuscitation survey, 88 percent said bystander CPR intervention is an important factor in boosting survival, along with getting patients to doctors more quickly (77 percent), better data collection and sharing (73 percent), automated technologies (66 percent), and real-time feedback on chest compressions (65 percent).

The survey also found that more than half the respondents believe that poor survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) are related to the aging population, and about 25 percent of respondents believe obesity is the most important factor in low survival rates. About 30 percent said CPR feedback devices would have the greatest impact on improving the quality of CPR.

"While we've made significant advances to improve resuscitation efforts, more needs to be done. The State of Resuscitation survey offers valuable insights on how we can build upon already existing practices, including increasing public involvement and implementing technology to help save more lives," ACEP President Dr. Nick Jouriles said in a news release from the organization.

"The results clearly show that it is necessary for communities to encourage more CPR training, offer more access to a broader range of critical lifesaving technologies, and report sudden cardiac arrest cases more consistently," Jouriles said.

"The optimal treatment of patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest requires a well-coordinated system of community members, emergency medical services (EMS), emergency department, cardiology and critical care services," Dr. Arthur B. Sanders, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, said in the news release.

"Community programs include early access to the EMS system and training citizens in CPR. Over the past decade, there have been important advances in the science of resuscitation. Unfortunately, implementation of the scientific advances has lagged in many communities," Sanders said.

"This survey reinforces the need to provide more education about CPR including the teaching of hands-only CPR. It also highlights the need for communities to monitor their survival data and implement changes that can improve all aspects of the system of care that can result in improved survival from SCA," he concluded.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more about sudden cardiac arrest.

SOURCE: American College of Emergency Physicians, news release, Nov. 7, 2008

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