Emory Report
September 29, 2008
Volume 61, Number 6



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29, 2008
Cardiac emergency study indicates survival chances

By Lance Skelly

When cardiac arrest patients cannot be resuscitated by emergency medical services in the field, lifesaving attempts to race them to a nearby hospital via ambulance often prove to be futile, say Emory researchers in the Sept. 24, Journal of the American Medical Association. In addition, the effort potentially increases danger to other drivers, pedestrians and the EMS professionals themselves.

The project and findings were based on the Emory-initiated CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) program.

“The study, which involved 19 EMS agencies and 111 hospitals in eight cities, helped us to identify those patients who have had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, and then determine which patients had the best chance of survival and which patients had little chance,” says co-lead investigator Bryan McNally, assistant professor of emergency medicine.

Co-author Arthur Keller-mann, associate dean for health policy and professor of emergency medicine, says, “While the science of medicine and technology has advanced to the point where we know what it takes to get that heart started, the fact remains that by the time EMS arrives, it may already be too late. At that point, the critical decision has to be made as to whether we stop and recognize the sad fact that the individual will not survive.”

McNally says he hopes the findings will help change the process of transporting patients to a hospital when there is no hope of survival for the patient.