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Emory emergency medicine physicians Arthur Kellermann, MD, MPH, and Bryan McNally, MD, MPH, have a mutual interest in ensuring the success of the "Chain of Survival" -- the necessary steps promoted by the American Heart Association to properly resuscitate a cardiac arrest patient quickly and transport them safely to a medical facility.
      Kellermann and McNally recently published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (Sept. 24, 2008) that underscores the vital importance of pre-hospital cardiac arrest care by firefighters and paramedics. They found when a victim of cardiac arrest cannot successfully be resuscitated on scene by EMS personnel, racing the victim to a nearby hospital via ambulance for additional treatment is futile. Furthermore, such high-speed runs can endanger the driving public, pedestrians, and the EMS professionals themselves.
      Kellermann, who also is associate dean for health policy and Emory professor of emergency medicine, says it is possible to restart the heart in the field if action is taken quickly and promptly. Those actions include calling 911, starting CPR, early defibrillation, and prompt access to definitive care.
      McNally says his goal is to use the findings to help change the process of transporting patients to a hospital.
      The project and findings, involving researchers from Emory University, the University of Michigan Health System and the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan, were based on the Emory-initiated CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Program. The program is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded surveillance registry, which was designed to help local officials determine how well their community performs in each link of the American Heart Association's "Chain of Survival."
      To listen to Kellermann's own words about cardiac arrest in the field, use the player at the top left of this page or subscribe to the podcast.

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