October 4, 2006
Wake County will launch a new induced hypothermia therapy, to increase survival rates of cardiac arrest patients. Working together, Wake County EMS, WakeMed and Rex Healthcare will make Wake County only the third place in the nation to undertake this procedure, which requires inducement of hypothermia in the field and continued temperature-dropping therapy in two designated hospitals: WakeMed and Rex Hospital.
Picture: Tony Gurley, Chairman Wake County Board of Commissioners, introduces the hypothermia therapy while Brent Myers, Medical Director Wake County EMS System, watches.
Hypothermia is a well-known cause of death, but doctors and paramedics in Wake County are eager to take advantage of the incredible benefits of controlled cooling of the human body, or induced hypothermia, for cardiac arrest patients. A news briefing to announce and explain this exciting procedure will be held at the Wake County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Training Facility on Wednesday, October 4, at 2:30 p.m. This is located in the Wake County Commons Building on Carya Drive, off Poole Road in Raleigh. Emergency medical physicians and staff will be available for interviews, and equipment used in Induced Hypothermia Therapy will be available for photos.
Wake County, WakeMed and Rex Healthcare are announcing that a community effort to coordinate field to hospital use of Induced Hypothermia Therapy will be launched in Wake County on Thursday, October 5, 2006. The Wake EMS System has worked with Rex Healthcare and WakeMed Health and Hospitals to implement this change in the standard of care that is consistent with recommendations from the American Heart Association. Based on studies in Denmark and Australia, this new treatment protocol could save the lives of an additional 10 people annually.
Some patients who regain a pulse after cardiac arrest suffer injuries from resumed blood flow to the brain too quickly, often resulting in brain death. Multiple studies have demonstrated improved neurological outcomes for patients who are cooled for the first 24 hours after they have return of pulse.
Wake County is already one of the best places in the nation to live if you suffer a cardiac arrest - your chances of survival are three times the national average, according to local EMS experts.
“Emergency response is well-coordinated here,” said Wake County EMS Medical Director Dr. Brent Myers. “Our emergency medical dispatchers in the 9-1-1 centers provide CPR instructions over the phone, our fire fighter first responders provide rapid defibrillation and excellent CPR, and our paramedics employ evidence-based, sophisticated advanced life support.” With induced hypothermia, Wake County’s potential outcomes will be even better.