Five years ago today the first Induced Hypothermia Protocol was implemented in the Wake County EMS System. This was the last step in a multi-phase process to improve outcomes for cardiac arrest victims in our community. Previous steps included utilization of uninterrupted compressions, working cardiac arrest patients on-scene until return of pulse, and using an Impendence Threshold Device to improve ventilation physiology during resuscitation attempts.
Last October our data was published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, a work recognized as one of the ten most influential publications in EMS in 2010 by the National Association of EMS Physicians. The statistical analysis confirmed that our new approach saved 3 additional lives per 100,000 population per year as compared with the “old” way of cardiac arrest management. Our efforts combined with those of our receiving facilities have saved approximately 25 additional lives per year, or 125 lives since our program began. We also know that 75% of these survivors leave the hospital neurologically intact.
Today we pause and reflect upon the impact of our prompt, compassionate, clinically excellent care.