American Heart Association Develops Program to Increase Cardiac Arrest Survival
Apr 17, 2012 - 12:09:19 PM
(HealthNewsDigest.com) - DALLAS, April 17, 2012 -- The American Heart Association has developed a program to help more people survive cardiac arrest. During a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, and unless it is restarted within minutes, the person usually dies.
Mission: Lifeline(R) is expanding to include a Cardiac Resuscitation
program to establish and streamline systems of care for response and
treatment to improve survival rates. The program will provide public
education and support for coordination among the lay public, public
health agencies, legislators and city officials with emergency medical
services (EMS) providers and hospitals to improve care for patients
with cardiac arrest.
Mission: Lifeline(R) was originally launched in 2007 as a program to
improve care for people suffering from ST-elevation myocardial
infarction (STEMI) ― the deadliest form of heart attack ―
or damage to heart muscle caused by a blocked blood supply to the
The chain of survival for STEMI spans from what bystanders do to help
the stricken person, to the actions of EMS and hospital personnel, to
"The system of care needed for a person who has a cardiac arrest in the
community is much the same as it is for STEMI; many cardiac arrest
patients also have STEMI," said Christopher B. Granger, M.D., chair of
the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline(R) Advisory Working
Group. "We know how to improve survival, but the simple things ―
like training people to recognize cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and
perform hands-only CPR ― are not being done for most victims.
Success depends on a coordinated and systematic approach for the
"We've had great success in improving the system of care for STEMI
patients. Now, it's time to turn our attention to saving the lives of
people who suffer cardiac arrest."
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest strikes about 382,800 Americans each
year ― killing nearly 90 percent.
Early and effective CPR, along with early access to defibrillation to
shock the heart to restore a normal rhythm, is essential to patient
However, the United States does not have organized approaches to
"There is a large variation in survival after out-of-hospital cardiac
arrest from one community to the next," said Graham Nichol, M.D.,
volunteer for Mission: Lifeline(R) and professor and director at the
University of Washington-Harborview Center for Prehospital Emergency
Care in Seattle. "We believe that whether you live or die after cardiac
arrest should not depend on which community you live in."
Nichol said people must recognize possible cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1
and begin CPR immediately.
"In most communities in the United States, about 20 percent of patients
who have cardiac arrest have bystander CPR," he said. "In communities
that are very successful in improving survival, like Seattle and parts
of Arizona, 40 percent to 50 percent get bystander CPR. We know we can
improve care, but only if everybody in a community works together."
"We already have successful systems in place with the Mission:
Lifeline(R) STEMI program now covering more than 64 percent of the
country," said Granger, professor of medicine at Duke University
Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "And we're seeing these systems work
― our STEMI death rate has dropped to 4.8 percent in 2010 from
5.8 percent two years before. That translates to more than 14,000 lives
"The American Heart Association is a leader in the science and
generation of evidence about how to perform resuscitation," Nichol
said. "It's only right that we now look to Mission: Lifeline(R) to have
a major impact on improving cardiac arrest survival."
For more information about Mission: Lifeline(R), visit
www.heart.org/missionlifeline. To learn more about how you can help
saves lives with CPR, visit www.heart.org/cpr.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives
funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as
well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are
enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the
association's science content. Financial information for the American
Heart Association, including a list of contributions from
pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at
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