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May 5, 2011

Cardiac survival rate in Seattle rises again

Medic One Foundation

SEATTLE — The Medic One Foundation announced today that the survival rate in Seattle for witnessed cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation exceeded 50 percent for the second year in a row. This gives Seattle one of the highest survival rates in the world, compared to between 2 and 25 percent nationally. Before the release of the latest numbers, Medic One was already a national leader with more than a 40 percent survival rate.

A major reason for this life-saving success is an intense commitment by the Medic One Foundation to constant medical review to ensure the quality of pre-hospital emergency care. For four decades, Seattle Medic One Co-founder Dr. Leonard Cobb has overseen the painstaking, scientific efforts to track what methods work best to improve survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Dr. Cobb explains, "It was reassuring to see such a high survival rate. But annual statistics don't necessarily make for a long-term trend. Dramatic jumps are wonderful, but they might be a bump in a long road. What's more important is that over the course of years, we've seen steady improvement in survival rates. That we're anywhere near a 50-50 rate is remarkable."

Dr. Cobb adds that looking critically at current methods and outcomes can lead to changing a medical protocol in the field. For example, "In the past three years we've made strong efforts to minimize any interruptions of chest compressions of patients with cardiac arrest, because uninterrupted compression cycles are likely to increase resuscitation rates. Our goal of limiting CPR interruptions to no more than 10 seconds was once considered unreachable, but now our EMTs and paramedics regularly approach that mark," said Dr. Leonard Cobb. "It appears likely that minimizing CPR interruptions has contributed to the improved outcomes."

"The Medic One Foundation is continually funding this exact kind of quality improvement, as well as supporting an unmatched paramedic training program and the implementation of new field procedures, backed by our research and clinical trials, to further increase patient survival rates." said Jan Sprake, Executive Director of the Medic One Foundation. "We consistently have one of the best cardiac arrest survival rates worldwide because our community is willing to invest their charitable dollars in critical programs that enhance the quality of Medic One services."


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