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Posted by Arkansas 911 News Chief Editor Paul Maddox
Press Release – LifeNet, Inc. (Tina Bell, Director of PR & Marketing)
LifeNet Shares Annual Sudden Cardiac Arrest Report
LifeNet, Inc. recently released their annual Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) report detailing survival rates for 2019. SCA is a life-threatening emergency that occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating. It strikes people of all ages and leads to death in minutes if the person does not get help right away.
Last year, LifeNet’s Hot Springs Division responded to 393 calls for patients who had suffered an SCA. The Division includes Garland and parts of Hot Spring County in Arkansas. Of the 186 patients who were viable for resuscitation efforts, 72 patients had return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), and 29 survived to hospital discharge, for a survival of 16 percent.
“Our team saved the lives of 29 sudden cardiac arrest victims during 2019, and that is something we are proud of. It takes dispatchers, paramedics, EMTs, and first responders who assist on scene, along with bystanders who witness the event and start CPR, and our hospital partners who provide post resuscitative care, all working together to save lives,” said Jason Gartner, General Manager of LifeNet in Hot Springs. “We are very proud to report our survival rate at 16 percent continues to be above the national average of 10 percent, and that as largely due to the strength of the chain of survival in our community. Of course, we are always looking for ways to improve the chain.”
The Chain of Survival has five key links. First, someone must recognize they have witnessed a person going into SCA and call 9-1-1 to activate the EMS system. Second, emergency medical dispatchers must be trained to enable callers to do quality CPR until medical help arrives on scene. Third, if an automatic external defibrillator (AED) is available, early defibrillation must occur.
These first three steps need to happen within the first five to eight minutes for an SCA victim to have a viable chance at survival. Without these steps happening, the chance of any EMS team getting ROSC on a patient when they arrive is very slim, and for each minute that these steps don’t happen, the chance gets slimmer.
The fourth step in the chain of survival is early advanced medical care by EMS prior to and while transporting the patient to the hospital. Post resuscitation care at the hospital is the final link in the chain of survival that leads to hospital discharge.
Helping improve survival rates is not only an EMS and hospital team effort, but it is also a community effort. Someone witnessed 119 patients suffer their SCA out of the 186 patients LifeNet crews attempted resuscitative efforts on.
“This really highlights why it is important for more people in our community to learn how to perform CPR. It also shows why we need more AEDs placed in the community and more people trained on how to use them,” Gartner said.
LifeNet’s survival rate across the Hot Springs Division increased to 33% for patients who were both in ventricular fibrillation (VF) and who had someone witness their event. VF is one of the abnormal electrical activities that causes the heart to quiver, stopping it from effectively pumping blood. VF is short lived and will deteriorate to asystole (a flat line) if not treated promptly. Shocking the heart with an AED is the only effective treatment for VF. The AED sends an electrical current through the chest to the heart with the goal of stopping the VF and providing an opportunity for the heart’s normal electrical system to take control. This current helps the heart reorganize the electrical activity so it can pump blood again.
LifeNet offers an AED Matching Grant to help non-profits and first responder organizations purchase AEDs. Additionally, for-profit businesses can purchase AEDs through LifeNet at cost.
LifeNet also offers a free bystander CPR and AED use class. It is designed to teach everyday people how to perform quality chest compressions and utilize an AED. The hour-long class includes a 20-minute lecture and hands-on practice. LifeNet offers the class to groups of 10+ people wherever it is most convenient for the group.
To learn more about sudden cardiac arrest, you can download LifeNet’s 2019 SCA Report at www.LifeNetEMS.org/SCAReport. To schedule a free class, or to learn more about the AED Matching Fund Program, call 903-556-0301.