EMS agencies track patient survival with national cardiac arrest registry

More than 800 EMS agencies contribute cardiac arrest survival to CARES, a key recommendation of IOM report


ATLANTA — Hundreds of EMS agencies are participating in Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES) program, which is an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) registry that has the potential to serve as the recognized registry for the US. A national registry for OHCA is a recommendation of a recent report from Institute of Medicine (IOM) on cardiac arrest patient survival. 

The report highlights that "A national responsibility exists to improve the likelihood of survival and favorable neurologic outcomes following a cardiac arrest. This will require immediate changes in cardiac arrest reporting, research, training, and treatment."

"CARES has been able to track improvements in survival and bystander interventions amongst participating communities over time," said Bryan McNally, MD, MPH, Executive Director of CARES. "Our ultimate goal is to serve as a standard platform for quality assurance efforts and improve survival from OHCA."

CARES was established in 2004 through a collaborative effort between Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has since expanded both nationally and internationally. Currently more than 800 EMS agencies and over 1,300 hospitals in 36 states representing a population footprint of 80 million people participate in CARES.

"We are excited to see that the IOM has recognized the importance of having a national registry for OHCA," McNally said. "We believe CARES is well positioned to be the registry for the US as we currently cover approximately 25 percent of the US population and have approximately 200,000 cardiac arrest events in the registry."

CARES is funded by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Medtronic Foundation and ZOLL Corporation. These partners have supported the concept of CARES as a national registry and emphasized the importance of promoting bystander interventions such as CPR and AED use.

The full IOM report can be accessed at this link.

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