Damar Hamlin, Cardiac Arrest and What It Takes to Increase Your Chances of Survival: NPR
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Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin is in intensive care after going into cardiac arrest on the field Monday and medical personnel were called in to restart his heart. This rapid response dramatically increased his chances of survival and recovery.
University of Cincinnati Medical Center, Hamlin, is listed in critical condition. reported On Thursday, his condition had “significantly improved”.
“He began to wake up this morning and his neurological status and function appear to be intact,” UCMC Dr. Timothy Pritts said during a video conference call with the media. “This represents a very positive turning point in his ongoing care.”
For the more than 350,000 Americans who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year, the outlook is not always optimistic. Many studies show that more than 10% of these patients survive before being discharged from the hospital.
As grim as it sounds, medical experts say the statistics do a much better job of masking the individual outcomes of patients who receive prompt and appropriate care before they arrive at the hospital.
For many, trained observers are the key to survival
Jeff Feig, 56, a private equity investor, was vacationing at a summer community in Westchester, New York, in 2016 when he suddenly had shortness of breath.
“It was like a switch. I am very sick. I remember thinking, I just need to sit down,” he says.
Feig knows the rest of the story only from those close to him, some of whom quickly intervened and helped save his life. “My heart stopped. My eyes rolled into the back of my head. “I was foaming at the mouth,” he says.
Feig’s out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, also known as OHCA, occurred under circumstances that increased his chances of survival. A week ago, bystanders who helped him received CPR training and instructions on how to use the community’s automated external defibrillator, or AED, a device that allows untrained people to deliver life-saving shocks to a stopped heart. Many AEDs are now programmed with verbal commands to talk the user through the process.
A 2018 survey by the Cleveland Clinic found that just over half (54%) of Americans know how to perform CPR, but only about 11% know the proper rate (between 100 and 12o per minute) to perform chest compressions. A recent survey Journal of the American Heart Association Only 18% of people found that they had updated their CPR training.
Dr. Myron Weisfeldt, professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University, said early recognition of sudden cardiac death, early CPR and early defibrillation is important in what is known as the “chain of life.”
Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur at home
According to the American Heart Association, approximately 70% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) occur at home, 18.8% in public settings, and 11.2% in nursing homes. In many cases, family, friends and bystanders don’t know what to do, says Weisfeldt, who has authored or co-authored several OHCA articles.
This uncertainty wastes precious time and quickly reduces survival chances, he says.
According to Weissfeldt, for every minute of delay in defibrillation, the chance of survival decreases by 10%.
However, the availability of CPR and defibrillation on OHCA premises has increased dramatically, he says.
CPR is considered an “effective bridge” to defibrillation, According to Weissfeldt. “Rapid defibrillation is essential for survival and for the brain to function well,” he says.
AEDs are common in high-traffic buildings and nursing homes, and various state laws require them to be located in schools, health and fitness centers, public golf courses, and institutions. games.
Such devices are rare in homes, says Dr. Douglas Koopas, an EMS physician and medical director of the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.
Even in public places, the location of an AED may not be obvious. In such cases, it is important that the person begins chest compressions immediately. If another person is available, they should get an AED, he says.
“It makes a lot more sense than a single CPR person running around the building trying to find an AED,” says Kupas, director of critical care programs at Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania.
Being healthy increases your chances
Being healthy “dramatically increases your chances of surviving an OHCA,” says Dr. Stephen Anderson, an emergency physician who recently retired after 35 years in Seattle.
Anderson cites the example of a casino that is only 8 miles from his workplace.
“If you collapse in a casino, they respond immediately” with CPR and AED defibrillation, Anderson says.
“I have cared for countless people who have suffered cardiac arrest at the casino. [into the hospital] he talks and wakes up,” he says.
What can you do?
Doctors say more lives could be saved if more people were trained in CPR, including how to use AEDs. It is also important to keep this training up to date.
“Improving any skill is very beneficial,” says Kupas. “But I think we need to get rid of the idea that you have to be fully trained, you have to be certified, you have to have an unexpired card or you’re not good for it.”
“If you can [CPR training] “20 years ago, you probably knew a lot more about good compressions than someone who never did,” he says.
“The key is to push hard and push fast,” agrees Anderson, whose recommended tempo for chest compressions matches the Bee Gees’ 1970s hit “Stayin’ Alive.”.”
But even an untrained person can perform CPR, says Kupas.
“We’re seeing more and more of this accidental CPR being done [after] in-flight training of the dispatcher,” he says.
“They just read the script — ‘put your hand in the middle of your chest right on that nipple line, press down and up, and then they start counting,'” he says.
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