For this special supplement to JEMS, we assembled some of the leading experts on cardiac care to synthesize and highlight the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiac Care. In addition to summarizing the important aspects of cardiac care and cardiac arrest management, the authors carefully outlined important areas that EMS agencies, tasked with implementing the Guidelines, should consider.
The new Guidelines seem simple in several areas, but, in my opinion, they’ll require us to carefully retrain our crews, adopt a new thought process and systems approach to cardiac arrest management, and develop a more integrated citizen, police, fire, EMS and hospital interface.
Key areas to note:
The reality is that these are not simple tasks; they are critical tasks that will require a much more defined, practiced and coordinated approach to cardiac arrest management than we’ve used in the past. Our crews must be vigilant to avoid interrupting compressions once they start a resuscitation. That’s easier said than done. This area will require the most practice and operational oversight to enable us to affect and improve resuscitation success rates. It’s my opinion that feedback devices and mechanical compression devices will play an important role in this area.
Many systems have been progressive and have already been testing or have implemented most of the areas now formally recommended or sanctioned by the 2010 Guidelines. For example, systems that have implemented therapeutic hypothermia care into their treatment plans and coordinated them closely with their receiving hospitals are already achieving incredible results.
JEMS will continue to report on the successful efforts of these progressive agencies. Using the new Guidelines, follow the lead of these systems and implement procedures and processes that will give your system/agency improved resuscitation rates.