This editorial supplement shows how advances in technology are linking prehospital and hospital teams in an unprecedented, seamless manner. The result: better coordination of care, better resuscitation results and better evaluation and validation of what we are doing for our patients.
I’m no Trekkie, however, like many other EMS administrators who have assumed the responsibility for review, deployment and maintenance of technology-related items, I can identify with the highly respected title of “techno geek.” The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, San Diego Medical Services and our partners in the city of San Diego’s EMS system have had the wonderful opportunity to envision and develop many advanced tools to improve our delivery of prehospital emergency care.
It’s been more than 50 years since the first report of successful resuscitation using “closed chest massage.” In describing the early success of this thing called cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the authors noted that “anyone anywhere can now initiate cardiac resuscitative procedures. All that is needed are two hands.”1
Hypothermia has been gaining steady ground as a standard of care for cardiac arrest patients. A new clinical study in Europe being sponsored by Philips Healthcare is taking a look at rapidly induced hypothermia by infusion of cold saline and endovascular cooling before reperfusion in patients suffering ST-elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI). It is hoped the study will determine whether hypothermia can make an even bigger difference in reducing heart damage in these patients.
How important is data to the success of your system and the outcome of the patient care you deliver? At Montgomery County (Texas) Hospital District (MCHD), we consider data one of our most valuable resources. Being able to measure something gives us the ability to understand and manage it. Without data, we’re in the dark about our performance, which means we can’t improve it.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport may be one of the best public places in the country to survive a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). Indeed, thanks to an innovative public AED program initiated 10 years ago at the airport, the rate of people surviving witnessed cardiac arrests and being released from a hospital neurologically intact is a stunning 75%.
“If you want to have your heart stop beating, have it [occur] at the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport,” says Debbie Thomas, RN, a paramedic training coordinator for the Phoenix Fire Department.