New protocol being reviewed for those in cardiac arrest

New protocol being reviewed for those in cardiac arrest (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A pilot study that is now underway may help save the lives of those in cardiac arrest.

February is National Heart Health Awareness Month, and a study of a new heart protocol could make a difference in saving lives.

It's designed for those who go into what's called “cardiac arrest”, which is when the heart suddenly stops working.

The new protocol is being used as a part of a pilot study at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. It is put in place when a call comes into first responders, that someone is in cardiac arrest, and those first responders can't shock the heart back into rhythm after trying at least three times.

They call it the “Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Protocol” or “ECPR”.

First responders then alert the hospital, and the EMS workers connect the patient to this device. It automatically delivers CP on the way to the hospital and can help preserve brain and organ function.

The hospital is then ready when the patient arrives. The patient is not taken to the emergency room, but rather straight into a procedure room called a “Heart Catheterization Lab”,

They are immediately connected to what's called an ECMO machine which allows the heart and lungs to rest, while the doctor performs a procedure to find the problem, which is often a blocked artery.

So far, they've seen a huge jump with this protocol in those who might not otherwise survive a cardiac arrest.

Survival rates have gone from zero to about 40 percent.

Now many local hospitals already have teams that shorten this door to “balloon time”, as they call it, where many of those steps take place.

This may just add evidence to a few more steps and communication on the way, that could make a difference. It helps to document numbers to support equipment and processes needed along the way.

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