Mo. paramedics implement pit crew CPR

Up-to-date protocols and new equipment for St. Charles County's new initiative for cardiac arrest response

ST. PETERS, Mo. — St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) paramedics - and other first responders in the county - have begun utilizing a pit crew approach as the cornerstone of their completely redefined cardiac arrest protocols.

“Pit crew refers to the fact that everyone on the scene has a very specific, well-defined role, and the model accommodates whichever responders arrive on-scene first,” said SCCAD Deputy Chief Medical Officer John Romeo.

The revised protocols – collectively referred to as cardio-cerebral resuscitation (CCR) – begin with six minutes of high-quality, minimally-interrupted chest compressions, and focus on a streamlined, back-to-basics approach. Paramedics and firefighters are training on the new protocols and will put them into practice very soon.

SCAAD personnel learn and practice the pit crew protocol
SCAAD personnel learn and practice the pit crew protocol (image courtesy SCAAD)

The CCR protocols have seen tremendous success in EMS agencies in other places. SCCAD is the first agency in the St. Louis region to debut this distinctive model of cardiac arrest management. Locally, the initial results are encouraging – a crew who trained on the protocols early put the steps into practice on a recent call, and the patient survived and went home from the hospital.

The roll-out of CCR coincides with SCCAD’s purchase of the Zoll X-Series cardiac monitor/defibrillators for each of the 32 ambulances in the district. The monitors offer the ability for paramedics to see underlying heart rhythms without pausing chest compressions during CPR and wirelessly transmit patient data to receiving hospitals so doctors and nurses can prepare accordingly. A real-time CPR feedback feature measures rate, depth and effectiveness of compressions.

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