Posted on 06/07/2022
Law enforcement vehicle

The grant provides statewide law enforcement agencies and first responders with devices that aim to increase cardiac arrest survival rates

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL--The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust announces an $18.8 million grant to the University of Minnesota Medical School. The grant aims to provide law enforcement officers and first responders across Minnesota with more than 8,300 automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to improve cardiac arrest survival rates. 

The three-year project aims to equip every law enforcement vehicle in the state with an AED and train agencies to deliver immediate care prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Services (EMS). AEDs should be applied within the first three to five minutes of a cardiac arrest to ensure the best possible outcome. 

“With the Helmsley Charitable Trust’s new grant to the U of M Medical School, thousands of AEDs will be deployed by first responders to serve and treat hundreds of victims of sudden death each year in all corners of urban, suburban and rural Minnesota,” said Demetri Yannopoulos, MD, the director of the Center for Resuscitation Medicine at the Medical School. “Defibrillators are one of the few known lifesaving technologies in cardiac arrest. We anticipate that hundreds of lives will be saved in the next few years by this effort. We are very grateful to the Helmsley Charitable Trust for their continuing trust and support in our center and state.”

Data from Minnesota Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) shows that 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidents happen in homes, where AEDs placed in public facilities can have little impact. 

“Seconds count during a cardiac arrest,” said Walter Panzirer, a Helmsley trustee. “This funding will ensure those who get to the scene before EMS arrives give patients a better shot at survival.”

To date, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has granted more than $53.5 million across Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming for AEDs, funding nearly 22,000 devices for law enforcement and first responders. This collaboration is a part of a larger initiative to bring known lifesaving medical technology to underserved communities.

The AEDs analyze heart rhythms throughout CPR, reduce pauses and allow for improved blood circulation to increase the odds of survival. Using Wi-Fi connectivity, these self-monitoring devices can report their status to a centralized online data repository, allowing law enforcement agencies to know their devices are ready or in need of maintenance. The information collected will also allow the Center for Resuscitation Medicine to improve response to cardiac arrest and demonstrate how swift law enforcement response gives patients a better chance of survival.

“I am very grateful to the Trust for awarding the Medical School this grant, which allows us to greatly expand our ability to treat Minnesotans suffering cardiac arrest as quickly as possible, giving them a better chance at recovery,” said Jakub Tolar, MD, PhD, dean of the Medical School and vice president for clinical affairs.

The distribution of the AEDs and training to use the devices are expected to begin this summer. Agencies such as Metro Transit and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who typically do not have AEDs, will receive them for the first time.

“Now, with the unparalleled support of the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the commitment for better equitable distribution of health care by the Medical School and Dean Jakub Tolar, we at the Center for Resuscitation Medicine will deliver approximately 8,300 automated defibrillators around the state, connect them to our mobile extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) response teams, and provide the best care in the world for victims of cardiac arrest,” Dr. Yannopoulos said.

SOURCE: University of Minnesota Medical School