April 1st, 2014 – Emporia, AR.
The members of the Emporia (AR) EMS agency (EEA) will soon be participating in a potentially groundbreaking study to prove the effectiveness of CPR in patients suffering from a sudden cardiac arrest.
Dubbed the “Pump It!” study, patients who are found to be suffering from Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OOHCA) will be randomized into two groups, with one group receiving the standard treatment of chest compressions commonly known as “CPR” and the other group receiving none.
According to the lead researcher on the project, Paramedic Christopher Downdike, the study will work like this:
“When our crews are dispatched to a known cardiac arrest or arrive on scene to discover that the patient has no pulse or respirations, they will immediately call in to dispatch that they have verified a patient meeting the study criteria. The dispatchers will select one of fourteen ping pong balls from a box on the dispatch console. 7 of those ping pong balls have “NO COMPRESSIONS” written on them, and the other 7 have “Pump It!” written on them. This helps randomize the selection process. The patients who get a ping pong ball with the words “Pump it!” will receive chest compressions, the others will not.
Paramedic Downdike says that the patients randomized to not receive chest compressions will still be receiving such Advanced Life Support treatments as IV medications, endotracheal intubation, and occasional defibrillation.
“We will be measuring overall survival rates between the two random patient groups using some pretty complex mathematical formulas. The purpose of this study is to see whether or not chest compressions are truly effective in restoring someone’s heartbeat after they suffer cardiac arrest.” said Downdike, he continued “The practice of providing chest compressions is not benign. Injuries such as rib fractures, bruising of the heart, and other problems are common. The technique also leads to fatigue and strained backs among our EMS providers. If we prove the need for chest compressions, then we’ll keep doing them. If we prove they make no difference, then maybe we can stop providing them altogether.”
When asked about the fact that chest compressions are the only treatment ever proven to work for resuscitation of patients in cardiac arrest, Downdike said that “every study requires peer review. That’s how science works.”
At press time, Paramedic Downdike was reading a printed copy of the study: “Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: systematic review of randomised controlled trials”
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