Warren County Emergency Medical Services has joined a Duke University study that seeks to increase the cardiac arrest survival rate here and across the state.
The RAndomized Cluster Evaluation of Cardiac ARrest Systems Study, or RACE CARS Trial, over the next seven years has a goal of improving cardiac saves across the whole emergency response system, explained Captain Chris Tucker, interim WCEMS division chief and county coordinator for the Duke program.
“Should where you live determine whether you live?” Tucker said. “In a rural setting, that’s what we want to change.”
Giving cardiac arrest victims—who have an 11 percent survival rate in Warren County, not an unusual statistic in a rural area—the best chance at making it means equipping as many people as possible with the knowledge and tools to help, even the very youngest.
“If you can understand what to do, we’ll teach you how to call 911 and understand the questions that are going to be asked,” Tucker said.
Training members of the community how to perform hands-on CPR is crucial to the program’s success. Not just a few people, but anyone who wants to learn. Training will be offered throughout the county as the program, which held its kick-off on July 8, gets further along.
Tucker said also that the location of automatic external defibrillators, or AEDs, in the county will be mapped, including at churches and other community centers where large groups of people gather.
All of the county’s fire departments have AEDs, Tucker said. Also aiding in response to cardiac arrests, EMS has put into service five LUCAS devices, which provide automated CPR and take less than 30 seconds to deploy.
According to RACE CARS defibrillation statistics, treatment within the first 2 minutes of cardiac arrest has a 59 percent survival rate, compared with 13 percent for those treated after 10 minutes.
Tucker explained that a part of making improvements with current emergency response agencies includes more aggressive dispatching to cardiac calls of local fire departments, even if they don’t have first responders, and handling of cardiac arrest calls by the 911 center, including working with the callers on how to help the patients.
Having an aggressive response saved a life on April 6 when EMS and members of the Hawtree Volunteer Fire Department arrived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Carl Moss, who gave written permission to EMS to use their names in order for Tucker to tell Mr. Moss’s story.
The two agencies were dispatched to the Moss residence for a cardiac arrest. Hawtree firefighters and first responders started performing CPR, and two EMS units and a quick response vehicle responded. EMS also performed CPR and provided advanced life support; it took 19 minutes to bring Mr. Moss back to full cardiac response. Before his ambulance arrived at Maria Parham hospital in Henderson, he was trying to sit up. At the hospital, Moss was talking with his providers. He spent less than two weeks in Duke University Medical Center before coming home.
A second cardiac save occurred in June, Tucker said, and those are the kinds of statistics he hopes to see more of.
For more information on the RACE CARS Trial, contact Captain Chris Tucker at 252-257-1191.