CPR Guidelines May Lower Out-of-Hospital Death Rate


When implemented, the American Heart Association's 2005 guidelines on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can dramatically boost survival rates among people being treated outside a hospital setting, according to an expert report. A case report on the effectiveness of the new guidelines is scheduled to be presented Saturday at the AHA's annual meeting in Chicago by Dr. Michael Dailey, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Albany Medical College. Dailey also serves as medical director of emergency medical services (EMS) for the town of Colonie, N.Y., population 80,000. He said that local implementation of the AHA directives beginning in 2006 translated into a quadrupling of survival rates in his community over a three-year period.

Adoption of the guidelines took many forms, including the expansion of CPR training along the lines of the AHA's "CPR Anytime" format. Since 2005, about 200 Colonie residents a year have been trained in CPR, Dailey said. In addition, the town has embraced other AHA suggestions, such as the use of impedance threshold devices, faster deployment of mechanical CPR devices, bringing down emergency response times by upwards of a full minute, a commitment to performing two minutes of CPR before applying defibrillation, and favoring a period of high quality CPR prior to application of advanced airway placement and IV access. Also, as of 2009, once in the hospital, resuscitated patients in comas have received therapeutic hypothermia, he added. Since 2005, Colonie has also opened three Level One cardiac arrest centers.
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