Pardee Hospital and Henderson County Emergency Medical Service System have joined forces to participate in the statewide RACE CARS project and the national CARES registry, aimed at increasing the chances for survival in sudden cardiac arrest and assessing performance for further improvement.
Sudden cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death among Americans. The average national survival rate is 8 percent, but that rate varies widely by geographic region. In North Carolina, only 1 in 5 victims receive bystander CPR, and only 1 in 20 survive to hospital discharge. RACE CARS (Regional Approach to Cardiovascular Emergencies Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation System) coordinates local medical resources to provide the rapid diagnosis and high-quality emergency treatment necessary to improve sudden cardiac arrest rates. Part of this strategy includes reducing disparities in sudden cardiac arrest treatment.
To track the effectiveness of their efforts, Pardee Hospital, Henderson County EMS and other regional hospitals enter data about each cardiac event into the national Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). The registry helps to determine where ongoing improvements can be made. In addition, the partners plan to collaborate on another important phase in the program: community education about CPR and AED use.
"Our goal is to help Henderson County meet or exceed the national survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest by the spring of 2014," says Robert Kiskaddon, M.D., FACEP, Pardee Hospital's chief medical officer and vice president of Medical Affairs. "Pardee and Henderson County EMS are working to streamline standards and techniques that are proven to be dramatically effective in improving sudden cardiac arrest outcomes. We are pleased to partner with the Henderson County EMS team to help our community reach this crucial goal. Not only will this increase the survival rate but it may increase quality of life after a cardiac arrest event."
RACE CARS standards indicate that a patient with no pulse should be given high-quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)—lasting for at least 20 minutes—at the scene of the event, ensuring that moving and transporting the patient creates no more than a 10-second pause in resuscitation efforts. Since adopting this new approach, the Henderson County EMS System has seen a marked improvement in cardiac arrest survival. The destination hospital's emergency department meanwhile prepares to provide the rapid, structured interventions that have been shown to improve the short- and long-term prognosis of the sudden cardiac arrest patient, including therapeutic hypothermia, immediate coronary reperfusion and neurologic diagnosis.
RACE CARS is the largest statewide system of emergency cardiovascular care participating as a partner in the HeartRescue Project, a nationwide effort to double out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates in the U.S. in five years. Further information about North Carolina's RACE CARS program can be obtained through the Medtronic Foundation's HeartRescue Project, at www.heartrescueproject.com/index.htm. More information about CARES can be found at www.mycares.net.