Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. LifeNet, Inc. measures and reports on SCA statistics and this week released their annual Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests Report.
According to the report, LifeNet was dispatched to 451 patients in the Texarkana area who had suffered a SCA in 2017. LifeNet attempted resuscitation on 147 of those patients. About half of those patients responded to resuscitative efforts and were transported to the hospital, where 14-percent of the patients survived to hospital discharge.
“A 14 percent survival rate is higher than the national average, which ranges between 8 to 10 percent in this overall survival category,” explained David Baumgardner, CEO of LifeNet, Inc. “Unlike other EMS systems who only report their survival percentages based on witnessed V-Fib events, we report all of our sudden cardiac arrest numbers. In Texarkana, LifeNet’s witnessed V-Fib survival percentage for 2017 was even higher, at 19 percent.”
A witnessed V-Fib means someone witnessed a cardiac arrest heart rhythm known as ventricular fibrillation. This heart rhythm is the most common rhythm seen in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and is also the most deadly.
“The best treatment for a v-fib starts with early and effective CPR by whoever witnesses the event and continues by having qualified paramedics respond and begin treating the victim as soon as possible,” Baumgardner said. “To give the patient the greatest chance of long-term survival, advanced cardiovascular care should be available within minutes of the collapse or the onset of symptoms.”
Of the SCA calls received in 2017, LifeNet responded within eight minutes to 90.2% of patients in Texarkana, Arkansas and 91.9% of patients in Texarkana, Texas.
“We post ambulances to provide fast response times across the communities we serve. But EMS response is sometimes delayed by heavy traffic, secured buildings, or gated communities. This is why LifeNet is a big advocate for establishing automated external defibrillator (AED) programs,” said Baumgardner. “AED programs equip lay rescuers with AEDs and train them to perform CPR and use AEDs, helping ensure the people most likely to arrive first at a medical emergency are equipped to help.”
In 2017, an AED was used 13 times in Texarkana. To help educate the community about AEDs, LifeNet presented presentations at area service clubs and distributed handouts at health fairs and other community events last year.
LifeNet offers free educational opportunities to organizations wanting to educate their members on sudden cardiac arrest, compression only CPR, and AEDs. To schedule a free class for your organization, contact Netra Dutton at 903-832-8531. To read the full SCA annual report, visit www.LifeNetEMS.org/index.php/cardiac-arrest-report/.