Study Shows Cardiac Arrest Treatments Require Improvement

Effective Airway Management Vital For Boosting Survival Rates

26.11.2013

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

Survival rates for people who suffer out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) could be increased with better treatment options.

A pilot study by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust has highlighted the importance of effective airway management and rescue breathing.

At present, only ten per cent of the 60,000 people who suffer an OHCA in the UK every year survive - this drops to seven per cent for Western Europe as a whole. The various bodies involved hope to improve this rate by developing 'best practice' advice for paramedics responding to an emergency.

It marks the first time an interventional research trial has been completed and by analysing the results, researchers can find out which type of rescue breathing is most likely to improve survival rates.

Once a larger scale study has been completed, the findings will be used to influence guidelines both nationally and internationally.

Professor Jonathan Benger, who led the investigation, stated: "This has been a fantastic collaboration, with the number of paramedics taking the opportunity to become involved in this important project exceeding our initial recruitment expectations. This, in turn, meant that we were able to include more patients, strengthening our results."

He added current resuscitation guidelines place a large emphasis on life support, which involves chest compressions and keeping the airway clear. While tracheal intubation is regarded as the best method for dealing with an OHCA, Professor Benger wanted to see how supraglottic airway devices worked.

As part of the investigation, paramedics were observed to see how they reacted to certain circumstances. It discovered a variety of techniques were used based on their clinical judgement and patient need.

Professor Benger stated that he is confident survival rates from cardiac arrest will increase both in the UK and internationally as a result of the discoveries made in the study.

Expert Opinion
Cardiac arrests continue to affect a large amount of people with low survival rates across the UK and Europe. We welcome any research that highlights ways that care could be improved in this area.

By its very nature the effectiveness of emergency response healthcare is often the difference between life or death and any improvement to the survival rates no matter how small is still important.

The crucial factor now is that the results are shared with everyone who may need to deal with out of hospital cardiac arrests. Sharing best practice across the whole of the NHS and healthcare industry is very important in improving patient safety.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner