NW Fire-UA Medical Center partnership saving lives

Survival rates have more than tripled for cardiac arrest patients in the Northwest Fire District as a result of a new treatment protocol and a close partnership with the University of Arizona Medical Center, the facility that provides the fire district’s medical direction.

Data shows that, just eight months after implementing a state-approved treatment standard for patients who experience “Sudden Cardiac Death,” Northwest Fire has dramatically increased the chance of survival in two key cardiac arrest categories it monitors compared to the previous year:

*All patients in cardiac arrest (bystander witnessed or not, with a “shockable” heart rhythm or not) have a 14.6 percent chance of survival compared to 4.9 percent reported prior to the new treatment protocol.
*Bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest in patients with a shockable heart rhythm now have a 37.5 percent chance of survival vs. 11.1 percent reported prior to the new treatment protocol.

The cardiac arrest treatment model now used by NWFD is called Minimally-Interrupted Cardiac Resuscitation and the protocol went into effect in January 2012. NWFD has joined other emergency medical services agencies throughout the state in demonstrating how effective the alternate EMS system cardiac protocol can be by reporting patient outcomes through to hospital discharge. This is accomplished because both NWFD and Tucson-area hospitals report treatment information to SHARE (Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education), a state health department program that partners with EMS providers to maintain records on cardiac arrest incidents.

This unified patient reporting structure not only demonstrates that more lives are being saved through NWFD’s implementation of MICR, it also shows that most of the patients who survive are doing so with very good neurological status. This is extremely important since neurological compromise is a common complication of cardiac arrest, contrary to the perception of CPR survivors portrayed on TV where the patient is shocked by paramedics and immediately wakes up.

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