- Associated Press - Sunday, December 25, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - A change in the procedure in which cardiac arrest patients are treated by Arkansas’ largest ambulance service has resulted in an increase in the number of patients who are revived.

The new procedure calls for extended on-scene treatment over quickly transporting the patient to a hospital.

Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services of Little Rock told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2i7PI1L) that the revival rate more than doubled from about 15 percent to about 32 percent since it began performing uninterrupted CPR at the scene beginning Nov. 23, 2015.

“The key is staying where you are,” MEMS quality assurance manager Mack Hutchison said. “If you’re trying to move somebody to a cot or an ambulance, you can’t do quality (chest) compressions.”

MEMS medical director Dr. Charles Mason said the length of on-scene CPR treatment varies from patient to patient. He said in some cases, medics perform CPR for more than an hour before a person’s cardiac activity returns.

Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function caused by malfunctioning electrical impulses, unlike a heart attack, which is the death of heart muscle tissue due to a loss of blood supply to the heart. Cardiac arrest is the third-leading cause of death in America behind heart disease and cancer, according to the National Academies of Medicine.

Though emergency medical services have increased the number of patients revived from cardiac arrest, the overall survival rate remains low. Fewer then 6 percent of those who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital survive, according to the Academies of Medicine.

MEMS Executive Director Jon Swanson said bystanders who perform CPR before medics arrive can increase the chances of a person being revived. That, in turn, can increase the chance of survival.

“This is where the public and their willingness in being able to identify and perform CPR comes in,” he said.

MEMS, a nonprofit agency that provides emergency medical services to more than 530,000 residents in Pulaski, Faulkner, Grant and Lonoke counties in central Arkansas, responds to roughly 700 cardiac arrest calls annually.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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