Editor’s Note: Names in the following article have been omitted for privacy reasons.
One night in October 2015, the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department (SLOFD) and San Luis Ambulance (SLA) responded to a 9-1-1 call for a man who had suffered a life-threatening heart attack. The man’s wife had recently taken Hands-Only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) at her workplace and initiated CPR prior to the arrival of first responders.
The emergency medical services (EMS) responders from SLOFD and SLA initiated the new High-Performance CPR protocol and successfully resuscitated the patient.
“With 25 years of service, 15 as a medic, I can accurately say that two months ago, this gentleman would have died because we would have paused compressions for breaths, defibrillation, and movement of the patient and our compressions would not have been deep enough or fast enough,” said one of the responding paramedics.
The following day, another responding paramedic checked on the patient’s condition at the hospital and after meeting the man’s wife shared:
“The amazing part of the story begins with her learning Hands-Only CPR just recently at her work [Diablo Power Plant] She was one of only five people in her office [of 45] who took the course. She initiated early CPR and activated EMS by quickly calling 9-1-1. I was not only proud of how all of the responders worked so diligently using High-Performance CPR, but also how this woman was able to save her husband with early CPR.”
Training the Public to Fight Heart Attacks
Cardiovascular disease is the single greatest cause of death in the United States. Nearly 400,000 cardiac arrests occur each year with 88 percent occurring outside of the hospital requiring a 9-1-1 response. But early recognition and action by bystanders can save lives.
The San Luis Obispo County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency implemented a High-Performance CPR program in the summer of 2015.
With a core set of EMS instructors representing fire and ambulance agencies, training was provided to more 750 emergency medical responders throughout the county, including fire department and ambulance crews, law enforcement officers and emergency department nurses.
In addition, a group of highly dedicated EMS volunteers trained over 2500 citizens in Hands-Only CPR at local farmers’ markets, department stores, and service groups.
The national survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is less than 8 percent. This rate establishes cardiac arrest as one of the most lethal public health problems in the United States, claiming more lives than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined.
With early activation of the 9-1-1 system, the initiation of bystander Hands-Only CPR, and EMS intervention utilizing High-Performance CPR, the chances of survival significantly improve.
To date, the program is demonstrating success with an increase in cardiac arrest patients having a return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). The initial data has shown an increase in patients having ROSC of 50 percent over the same time period last year.
Throughout the United States, communities implementing High-Performance CPR programs have dramatically increased out-of-hospital survival rates by as much as 30 to 50 percent. The successful launching of the County’s life-saving program was possible with the commitment of the EMS community and investment from partner organizations, including French Hospital Medical Center, San Luis Ambulance, and the Emergency Medical Services Foundation.
The High-Performance CPR program focuses on community education, 9-1-1 activation, high-quality CPR, and early defibrillation. While the EMS performance of high-quality CPR is a primary component in influencing survival from cardiac arrest, High-Performance CPR programs also focus on public awareness, prehospital intervention, and transporting those patients who have responded to pre-hospital treatment to hospitals that specialize in cardiac care.
To end the story the gentleman survived his cardiac arrest and was discharged from French Hospital the following week.
For more information regarding Hands-Only CPR classes contact: firstname.lastname@example.org