AHA recommendations on improving cardiac arrest survival ratesThe 911 operators coach the bystanders on how to assess victims of a sudden cardiac arrest and then immediately start the CPR. Cardiac arrest usually results when the heart’s electrical impulses go awry and makes it to beat abnormally. This is different from a heart attack and experts describe it as the ‘call to arms’. A lead researcher in the study, Lerner said that it is not as common as you might probably thing that one calls 911 and gets instructions on what they need to do. In the new guidelines issued by the AHA, 911 dispatchers had been advised to do this and the new statement provides even more help as to how the help should be provided. In addition, AHA also points out on why it is important to follow this up with assessing how best the dispatcher was able to give help as well as implementation of other performance measures.

The chain of survival plan

This statement was a part of a bigger plain that AHA refers to as the CPR ‘Chain of Survival’. Upon the bystander calling 911 and summoning for emergency assistance when a person collapses due to a cardiac arrest, they form the first link of Chain of Survival. This chain starts with the cardiac arrest being recognized immediately and the emergency response being activated. Early CPR makes the other parts of the chain together with rapid defibrillations and provision of advanced life support and finally ends with the post cardiac arrest care.
Every link in the chain has various participants with each of them having their own motivations, responsibilities and skills such as family members, bystanders, 911 dispatchers, hospital staff, pre hospital health care providers and other post hospital care givers. But it is very unfortunate that only between 5 and 10 percent of patients experiencing a cardiac arrest in places outside of hospital and who get resuscitation are discharged from the hospital. However, this chain of survival is much stronger in communities having good awareness where the survival rates are about 20 percent. And considering that over 380000 people in America get an EMS assessment for a sudden cardiac arrest, making any weak links stronger in this chain of survival can lead to more lives being saved.

Four specific measures recommended by AHA

After receiving a cardiac arrest call, the dispatchers need to assess whether the victim is indeed suffering from a cardiac arrest and when this is the case, the caller should be instructed on how to give CPR. Hands only CPR guidelines should be given for adult patients if asphyxia is not the cause of the arrest. Communities need to assess how EMS providers and 911 dispatchers perform and finally the performance measures need to be incorporated in a quality assurance program that involves the whole emergency response system.