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

spital cardiac arrest averages only 6-7%, claiming the lives of approximately 350,000 Americans each year using standard techniques. In many communities, paramedics can initially resuscitate cardiac arrest victims, but the majority will never regain consciousness and die due to brain injury.

It has long been thought that the brain can only survive without blood and oxygen for 4-6 minutes before irreversible damage occurs. That is now known to be incorrect. Brain cells begin to show signs of abnormal function soon after they are deprived of oxygen, but recent studies show that permanent damage begins after the heart restarts and oxygen returns to the brain. The cells try to consume the oxygen, but their injured machinery converts the oxygen into poisonous chemicals called "free radicals" which kill the cells. Cooling the brain as quickly as possible, ideally before the heart even restarts, slows its metabolism so it can't generate a large quantity of "free radicals". Maintaining precise temperature control for 24 hours and rewarming gradually using the catheter device is designed to prevent large swings in the body temperature which can result in a surge of metabolism and "free radical" production.

About VCU and the VCU Medical Center: Virginia Commonwealth University is the largest university in Virginia with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located on two downtown campuses in Richmond, VCU enrolls 32,000 students in 205 certificate and degree programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-five of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU's 15 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University compose the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation's leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.


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