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Resuscitation and Survival Rates from Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Nearly Double with Comprehensive Treatment Protocol
Date:11/16/2009

VCU Medical Center and Richmond Ambulance Authority partner in unique effort

Richmond, Va. (Vocus) November 16, 2009 -- Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center and the Richmond Ambulance Authority have improved resuscitation and survival rates dramatically for cardiac arrest patients by training and equipping paramedics to begin lowering a patient's body temperature in the field during resuscitation and following up at the hospital with a host of high-tech strategies to improve the odds of survival.

The VCU and RAA initiative, known as the Advanced Resuscitation Cooling Therapeutics and Intensive Care Center, or ARCTIC, is the most comprehensive program of its kind in the United States, and its strategy resulted in an almost two-fold improvement in the return of spontaneous circulation, from 25 percent in 2001 using conventional treatments to 46 percent in 2008. In turn, the survival rate to hospital discharge improved from 9.7 percent in 2003 to 17.9 percent at the end of 2008. The national average is less than 7 percent.

ARCTIC has two goals: to restart the heart as quickly as possible following onset of cardiac arrest, and to protect the brain by starting cooling as early as possible and bringing resuscitated patients to a single specialized post-resuscitation facility. Between 2001 and 2008, the team evaluated 1,598 cases of adult, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events in Richmond, Va., and concluded that a building block strategy comprised of a unique combination of mechanical chest compressions, airway management, drugs that restart the heart, and cold saline given during resuscitation prior to the return of spontaneous circulation, sequentially improved patient outcomes.

"What we now know is that we have to protect the brain and vital organs during resuscitation and after the heart is restarted and this has led to a totally new strategy for ho
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