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NAEMSP president responds to NFPA position on heads-up CPR

President José G, Cabañas MD, MPH, FAEMS, said the non-clinical forum sets a dangerous precedent related to patient care

By Bill Carey EMS1

ATLANTA — The president of the National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) released a statement critical of a recently published position paper on CPR from the National Fire Protection Association’s Urban Fire Forum in September.

NAEMSP President José G, Cabañas, MD, MPH, FAEMS, said the recommendations from “First-In Responders Providing Neuroprotective (“Heads up”) CPR as the Standard of Care for Emergency Medical Services Systems” raises questions about the appropriateness of a non-clinical forum and their involvement in ongoing scientific dialogues that directly impact patient care, specifically the elevation of head and torso during CPR.

“The involvement of non-clinical forum in making statements about our practice sets a potentially dangerous precedent that could create pressure from non-clinical leaders and elected officials to adopt clinical practices that are not based on strong scientific evidence,” Cabañas wrote. “As dedicated EMS clinicians, we understand the importance of evidence-based medicine and the need for rigorous evaluation before endorsing widespread adoption of clinical practices based on preliminary observational evidence that almost always has major limitations due to bias.”

Cabañas added, “the concept of elevating the head and torso during CPR is certainly provocative and represents disruptive thinking that may potentially be important as we seek to improve outcomes from cardiac arrest.”

He went on to state that any publications calling for a recognized and accepted widely applicable standard of care should include authorship, as well as disclosure of conflicts of interest, to fully evaluate the objectivity of the position statement. 

Read NAEMSP President José G. Cabañas' full statement here.

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