Sudden cardiac arrest continued to be a leading cause of death in Arizona during 2014 (7,600/ year), but we also had some promising results. A few years ago our Bureau of EMS & Trauma System enticed dozens of AZ hospitals to become a Cardiac Receiving Centers. The initiative helps hospitals provide treatments scientifically proven to improve a patient’s survival rate (like using therapeutic hypothermia to improve the chances of survival). The program also includes protocols for the pre-hospital teams (EMTs & Paramedics) to evaluate cardiac arrest patients.
This year we received proof-positive that our initiative is saving lives. A study published this year in the Annals of Emergency Medicine (using our data) demonstrated that AZ cardiac arrest receiving centers paired with informed pre-hospital teams can increase survival from cardiac arrest by 50%. The study also shows that there are better neurologic outcomes or less damage to the brain.
The study is the first statewide report showing the benefit of this kind of regionalization of cardiac care. The article summarizes the importance of how 55 EMS agencies and 31 hospitals from around the state successfully improved the outcomes for thousands of Arizonans who had an out of hospital cardiac arrest.
Because Arizona’s EMS agencies and hospitals have implemented key interventions like our Cardiac Receiving Center Program, the survival rate from Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Arizona has increased by 300% in the last 10 years. Arizona’s pre-hospital and EMS system has become a model that has been adopted across the country – and now is shaping international models for cardiac arrest.