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Video: New protocol increases cardiac arrest survival rate

The extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation protocol is increasing survival rates from zero to around 40 percent

By EMS1 Staff

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new protocol being tested by a university medical center is increasing cardiac arrest survival rates from zero to around 40 percent.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is teaming up with the Columbus Division of fire to test the extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation protocol, which is initiated if EMS providers are not able to restore a normal rhythm after shocking the heart three times.

“It’s astounding that patients are able to fully recover and walk out of the hospital when they would have been pronounced dead in the field before this protocol was in place,” Dr. K. Dean Boudoulas said.

Under the protocol, EMS providers alert the hospital before connecting the patient to an automatic CPR device to preserve brain and organ function while en route to the hospital.

When the patient arrives, they can bypass the emergency room and go straight to the heart catheterization lab to be connected to an ECMO machine.

“This allows the heart and lungs to rest while doctors perform a heart catheterization to find the problem, which is usually a blocked artery,” Dr. Bryan Whitson said.

Officials hope to make this protocol the standard for treating cardiac arrest patients.