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Cardiovascular disease is the single greatest cause of death in the United States. Each year nearly a quarter million people receive attempted resuscitation by emergency medical services (EMS).
Bystander CPR is a vital intervention for patients with out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Although bystander CPR can more than double a patient’s chance of survival, in many communities less than one third of OHCA patients receive this action before the arrival of EMS.
With the revision of the American Heart Association’s 2010 bystander CPR Guidelines, it is now easier and faster to train laypersons on basic CPR technique. A renewed emphasis on training must be undertaken in order to increase community knowledge and thereby increase the chances of survival from cardiac arrest.
Ventricular fibrillation, a disturbance in heart rhythm resulting in uncoordinated contraction of ventricular cardiac muscles, is the most common cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Early defibrillation with shock by a defibrillator is the most effective means of resuscitation from cardiac arrest, and the only definitive treatment for ventricular fibrillation. The success of defibrillation diminishes rapidly with each passing minute from collapse, decreasing the chance of survival by about 5% for each passing minute.
Defibrillation must often wait until trained emergency responders arrive on scene with a defibrillator, increasing the time between collapse and defibrillation. Use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by laypersons enables defibrillation soon after collapse, increasing the likelihood of survival. The challenge is increasing accessibility to, and education in the use of, AEDs.
In September 2014 Michigan Rural EMS Network’s initiative, Michigan Resuscitation Consortium (MiResCu) received a federal grant from the Office of Rural Health Policy of the Department of Health and Human Services. This three year grant, an award through the Rural Access to Emergency Devices program, will allow for placement of AEDs in rural areas of Michigan that have a demonstrated need. Please contact us for more information.
Bystander CPR education and access to AEDs are part of the Michigan Resuscitation Consortium’s complete system change approach to increased survivability from cardiac arrest.