Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Improving cardiac arrest survival rates (Canada)

Improving cardiac arrest survival rates (Canada)Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital and Sunnybrook along with paramedics in the Greater Toronto Area are taking part in two of the largest clinical trials in the world aimed at finding ways to improve survival rates of people who suffer a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. One trial examines whether cooling a patient's body temperature in the ambulance en route to a hospital improves the rate of cooling in the hospital, which has been proven to improve survival and reduce brain damage. The other seeks to determine the best drug to give people to treat the heart rhythm that signals they are about to go into cardiac arrest. "The survival rate from cardiac arrest has increased five-fold in regions where paramedics are participating in these resuscitation trials, which highlights incredible improvements in quality of care," said Dr. Laurie Morrison, an emergency medicine physician at St. Michael's. Dr. Morrison heads Rescu, the largest research team of its kind in Canada, dedicated to improving out-of-hospital resuscitation. Rescu is conducting the trials along with Toronto-area base hospitals (Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine and Lakeridge Health Central East Prehospital Care Program), and associated paramedic and fire services. About 15,000 to 20,000 Canadians suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital every year. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, and unless it is restarted within minutes, the person usually dies. Although immediate resuscitation can be lifesaving, more than 90 percent of people who experience a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital will die before reaching a hospital or soon after

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