Archive - Jul 2012 - Blog entry

Archive - Jul 2012 - Blog entry

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July 20th

Just what ARE the odds?

Well, it depends...

Was your arrest witnessed?
If there's nobody else around when you have your cardiac arrest - or if there is someone else around and they don't notice that you have died - you have a 3.9% chance of getting out of the hospital with your major brain functions intact. How often does this happen? More than half of all out-of-hospital ("OOH") arrests are unwitnessed.

If a bystander saw you arrest, you have 15.2% chance of survival with brain intact - that's nearly four-times better odds. The moral of this factoid is that you need to always have someone around, and that person needs to know how to tell if you've just arrested. More than one-third of all OOH arrests are witnessed by a bystander.

Short-term memory loss

I had an SCA event 4/5/2009. My short term memory was severly diminished. I've seen quotes where after 20 months, don't expect mprovement. My experience is different. I saw some improvement this past Spring when I reduced my Lipitor prescription from 80 mg daily to 40, and later increased my exercise regimen. My short term memory appeared to improve, along with my ability to focus and concentrate. However, this improvement is inconsistent, and often I still fall into states of confusion, lack of mental acuity, moodiness and impulsiveness. Maybe that is what happens when you are "dead" for 1/2 hour without a hearbeat or pulse.

July 13th

improving the odds.

My family all know what to do when they witness a sudden cardiac arrest: if the victim is non-responsive and not breathing normally, they call 911, they get the victim on a hard, flat surface with the head tilted back, and they begin compressing the chest at least two inches deep at a rate between 100 and 120 compressions per minute, and they defibrillate the victim promptly if there is an AED available and immediately resume compressions. If there is no AED available, they don't stop compressions until someone else takes over.

But there's a problem with this: if they perform chest compressions the way they would be taught in an AHA or ARC or just about any other course, they won't be able to sustain the target compression rate and depth until the ambulance gets there. Most people cannot provide adequate chest compressions for three minutes. The longest I've seen is an Army Ranger Medic who lasted a little more than nine minutes.

July 10th

It's time to re-think CPR.

I believe that if the BLS curriculum were changed to teach what current resuscitation science teaches, many tens of thousand more people in North America would survive cardiac arrests than currently do. ("Survive" means "Get discharged from the hospital with major brain functions intact - i.e., with a CPC score of 1 or 2.")

Very few people perform CPR properly: the rate is too slow, the interruptions are too frequent and too long, and the compression depth is too shallow. There are ways to increase significantly the length of time that an average person can perform CPR correctly.

The CARES data shows us that two-thirds of all out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur in the home. Survival data shows that two percent of OOHSCA's occurring in the home have a survival outcome.

The Pheonix, AZ Airport has averaged a 75% survival rate for ten years.

Perhaps it's time to re-think what we take on faith as being the solution to the problem.


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