The first annual Oklahoma Resuscitation Academy was held April 8–9 at the Sheraton Hotel in Oklahoma City. The running theme throughout the academy was taken from a quote by Seattle’s legendary resuscitation guru, Michael Copass, MD: “There is no silver bullet. There is just hard work.”
During the two-day event, resuscitation experts and EMS professionals gathered from across the country to highlight areas where cardiac arrest response could be strengthened in any EMS system.
The Medtronic Foundation’s HeartRescue Project—whose mission is to improve how sudden cardiac arrest is recognized, treated and measured in the United States—sponsored the important educational event.
According to Joan Mellor, program manager of HeartRescue, “Resuscitation academies like this bring peers and experts together, creating a mechanism that can make a difference in local communities. These events engage, motivate and educate.”
During the academy, resuscitation specialists took to the stage to discuss the past, present and future of cardiac arrest treatment. Evidence-based case studies were presented to encourage the development of updated prehospital resuscitation guidelines.
The panel, comprised of EMS medical directors Jeffrey M. Goodloe, MD, NREMT-P, FACEP; Brent Myers, MD, MPH, FACEP; Ed Racht, MD; Eric Beck, DO, EMT-P; Sabina Braithwaite, MD, MPH; Craig Manifold, DO; and neurology-intensivist from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, Ryan Hakimi, DO, noted several changes that have the potential to increase the number of survivors and can easily be implemented by EMS agencies. The recommendations included the use of metronomes to keep crews on the proper target rates, use of targeted temperature management (therapeutic hypothermia), and implementation of an organized, choreographed approach to arrest management.
Myers, director and medical director for Wake County (N.C.) EMS, provided this compelling advice to the academy attendees: “Set up a process for success and success follows. Interdisciplinary participation is important, from dispatch to ICU.”
Crews from the Oklahoma City Fire Department (OCFD) and Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) performed treatment on a simulated cardiac arrest patient, allowing the audience to watch and experience a real-time demonstration of the system’s team dynamic approach to arrest scene management. This approach, popularly referred to as the “pit crew approach,” provides a specific assignment for each member of the resuscitation crew, which eliminates task confusion, minimizes chest compression interruption, and ensures the cardiac arrest is managed in a coordinated manner.
Discussion topics focused on post-return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) treatment such as neurological considerations in therapeutic hypothermia and the importance of hospital-based care in contributing to increasing numbers of neurologically-intact survivors.
Providers realize the concept is to create more survivors; however, the Resuscitation Academy reminded attendees not to overlook the needs of survivors’ families. It was noted that current systems generally lack education programs and mental health resources desperately needed by survivors of cardiac arrest. Cathy St. Amand, EMT-P, of Spokane (Wash.) American Medical Response (AMR) shared her compelling journey to reunite survivors with their rescuers and the development of local support groups.
Throughout the entire Resuscitation Academy there was a sense of eagerness and passion by not only the attendees, but the presenters as well. The presentations inspired attendees to return to their services and institute positive changes. Beck, associate chief medical officer of AMR and a presenter at the academy, said: “I enjoyed the intimate and candid dialogue with local and national thought leadership in cardiac arrest resuscitation. I’m leaving here reenergized.”
Goodloe, medical director for the EMS System for Metropolitan Oklahoma City and Tulsa, summed up the two-day academy: “The enthusiasm, by faculty and students alike, was off-the-charts fantastic!” He went on to say, “We’re extremely grateful for support from the Medtronic Foundation’s HeartRescue Program, AMR and Physio-Control. The ability to hear directly from clinical leaders was truly inspirational. The information presented during this event has the ability to reach and influence EMS providers across Oklahoma and throughout the country.”
Based on the success of the inaugural Resuscitation Academy, plans are already underway for the academy to be an annual event in Oklahoma City, open to local and national attendees. For information on how to enroll for next year’s Oklahoma Resuscitation Academy, go to www.okctulomd.com.