Archive - Nov 18, 2011

Archive - Nov 18, 2011

National Post-Arrest Research Consortium Will Study Post-Arrest Patients

Four internationally renowned academic medical centers have joined forces to look at what happens to cells after the heart restarts following cardiac arrest. Virginia Commonwealth University, Beth Israel-Deaconess/Harvard University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pennsylvania have created the National Post-Arrest Research Consortium (NPARC).

“Most large, single institutions treat approximately 10 to 12 patients a year. As the regional referral center for cardiac arrest treatment and Level I Trauma Center, VCU Medical Center treats about 70 or 80 post-arrest patients annually,” said Dr. Mary Ann Peberdy, professor of internal medicine and emergency medicine at VCU. “The three other consortium members are similar to us in terms of treatments and patient volumes.”

Withdrawal of Care May Occur Too Soon in Cardiac Arrest Patients Who Receive Hypothermia Treatment

Patients often regain consciousness 3 days or more after arrest

ORLANDO -- Physicians may be making premature predictions about which patients are not likely to survive following cardiac arrest – and even withdrawing care -- before the window in which comatose patients who have received therapeutic hypothermia are most likely to wake up, according to two new studies from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

The research helps to better define the proper timeframe and manner in which doctors may be able to predict which patients will regain consciousness after the use of therapeutic hypothermia, which preserves brain and other organ function following cardiac arrest. Patients treated with hypothermia often don't regain consciousness until three or more days after their cardiac arrest, according Penn research presented earlier this week at the American Heart Association's annual Scientific Sessions.

Schools Ignore AHA Heart Screening Guidelines

A state survey in Washington provides a disturbing look at how “off the radar” the risk of sudden cardiac deaths for young athletes is. Fewer than six percent of doctors were fully complying with guidelines provided by the American Heart Association for doctors to use while they did sports physicals. Equally sobering, fewer than half the doctors responding were aware the guidelines existed.

As for athletic trainers, about six percent said they knew the guidelines existed. The AHA published 12-point sudden cardiac death screening guidelines for athletes in 1996. It re-affirmed them in 2007. These are eight medical history questions and four physical exam elements, including listening to the heart and checking blood pressure.

More than 7 million people in the United States are playing high school athletics. One out of every 30,000 to 50,000 of them die annually from sudden cardiac deaths outside the hospital, according to the American Heart Association.

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