AHA, others form alliance to improve survival following cardiac arrest

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The American Heart Association (AHA), the Resuscitation Academy Foundation and Laerdal Medical have formed a partnership known as the Global Resuscitation Alliance, with a primary goal of increasing the survival rates following cardiac arrest by 50 percent.

Each year in the U.S., more than 350,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. Only 12 percent of those people survive. The survival rate for bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation is nearly 40 percent, although the rates differ based on the geographic region.

To improve the chance of survival following cardiac arrest, guidelines recommend cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator as soon as possible. The AHA noted in a news release that a person’s chance for survival decreases up to 10 percent for each minute he or she remains in cardiac arrest without CPR.

The groups plan on educating emergency medical services leaders and providing them with tools to improve survival. Some ways that could potentially increase survival include dispatching emergency response personnel quicker, ensuring 911 call centers can identify cardiac arrest and aid callers via CPR instructions, and teaching healthcare providers about high-quality CPR.

In October 2015, the AHA updated its guidelines for CPR and emergency cardiovascular care for the first time since 2010. The AHA recommends increased training for bystanders and healthcare providers and a greater reliance on technology to alert dispatchers and improve responses time following cardiac arrest.

In March, the Resuscitation Academy released a report on cardiac arrest, which led to the creation of the Global Resuscitation Alliance.

“It takes a tremendous amount of coordination to shape systems of emergency care that perform optimally,” John J. Meiners, chief of mission aligned business at the AHA, said in a news release. “We’ve made good progress in the United States, and we hope to see continuous improvement in cardiac arrest survival rates as we share science and best practices around the world.”