Emergency physicians reveal strategies for improving sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in the U.S.
Forbes.com – November 7, 2008
Physicians Rank Increased Bystander CPR, Faster Patient-to-Doctor Time, Data Collection and Technology As Critical Improvement Areas in Resuscitation
WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /PRNewswire/ — A new State of Resuscitation survey released today by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) finds an overwhelming majority (90 percent) of the emergency physicians surveyed believe that resuscitation practices in the United States are not very effective. Emergency physicians cite increased bystander CPR, faster patient-to-doctor time, improved data collection and sharing, and greater use of technology as critical to improving resuscitation for victims of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).
“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,” said Dr. Nick Jouriles, president of ACEP. “The results clearly show that it is necessary for communities to encourage more CPR trainings, offer more access to a broader range of critical life-saving technologies, and report sudden cardiac arrest cases more consistently.”
The survey shows that 9 out of 10 respondents (88 percent) consider bystander intervention an important factor to increase survival. Other factors viewed as having a positive impact on survival rates include faster patient-to-doctor time (77 percent), data collection and sharing (73 percent), automated technologies (66 percent), and real-time feedback on compressions (65 percent).
“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,” said Arthur B. Sanders, M.D., professor of emergency medicine at University of Arizona Health Sciences Center. “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. 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.”
Conducted in September 2008, the State of Resuscitation survey suggests that almost all emergency physicians (94 percent) believe that a patient in sudden cardiac arrest is more likely to survive if a CPR-trained bystander administers CPR before professional rescuers arrive. In addition, more than half believe the length of time between patient collapse and first responder arrival is an important factor in determining the success of resuscitation efforts.
The survey also suggests that an overwhelming majority (89 percent) of emergency physicians feel that technology will play an increasingly important role in resuscitation over the next five years. Eighty-four percent note that emerging technologies/therapies are important in treating sudden cardiac arrest. Only one in four considers automated chest compression devices important, despite research that indicates their positive impact.
Other important findings include:
— Approximately 3 out of 10 respondents say CPR feedback devices would have the greatest impact on improving the quality of CPR.
— More than half the respondents believe that poor survival rates from sudden cardiac arrest is related to the aging population, while one-quarter of respondents believe that obesity has contributed most to poor survival rates.
— Efforts to teach citizens CPR are scattered, and often, non-existent. Not surprisingly, the respondents want civic leaders to be more engaged in this issue.
The online survey was commissioned by ACEP and conducted by Saperstein Associates, Inc., an independent opinion research company. ZOLL Medical Corporation sponsored the survey. A total of 1,056 questionnaires were completed by ACEP members in selected membership sections. The study has a margin of error no greater than +/- 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence.
ACEP is a national medical specialty society representing emergency medicine with more than 27,000 members. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency care through continuing education, research and public education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency physicians employed by military branches and other government agencies.