Record month for resuscitations in the North East

Ambulance crews and public awareness of CPR techniques increase survival chances

NEAS records most successful month ever for successful resuscitations in the North East.

Thirty-eight per cent of patients attended to by the North East Ambulance Service in August were successfully resuscitated at the scene - a record for the service.

Since 2010, successful resuscitations performed where a heart has stopped beating have risen to 28% - an increase of 11%

The improved chances of survival are primarily due to ambulance crews arriving quickly, and administering effective clinical treatments.

A greater awareness among the general population about CPR techniques has also played a part.

A member of the public immediately performing CPR (chest compressions and rescue breaths) when someone has suffered a cardiac arrest can double a patient's chances of survival.

Paul Fell, Head of Clinical Care and Patient Safety, said: "The steady rise in the cardiac arrest survival rate in the North East is mainly due to call centre staff and ambulance crews identifying and reaching these patients quickly, and delivering effective clinical care on the scene before taking them to the best hospital for further treatment.

 "This year we've seen more people than ever attempting CPR, which means that more patients are being given the best chance of survival before ambulance staff arrive.

"Our work in the community last year enabled thousands of people to learn lifesaving skills, while the British Heart Foundation's TV advert starring Vinnie Jones was also very prominent."

NEAS clinically audits the proportion of cardiac arrest patients who are successfully resuscitated on scene by an ambulance crew, and then subsequently have a restored heart beat on arrival at hospital. 

In 2010, 17% of patients in cardiac arrest in the North East were successfully resuscitated.  In 2011, this increased to 21%. And to date in 2012, 28% of patients in cardiac arrest have been successfully resuscitated.

As a single month, August 2012 was the most successful for resuscitations in the history of NEAS - reaching 38%

Lynsey McCabe, NEAS Community Resuscitation Manager, said: "Not only are ambulance staff reaching people quickly and providing even effective treatment, but ordinary people are saving lives too.

"Knowing how to save a life using hands-only CPR is one of the most important skills you can learn, and the Vinnie advert shows people just how simple it can be."

Ann Fox, Director of Clinical Care and Patient Safety, said: "There are many reasons why a patient now has a better chance of survival if they suffer a cardiac arrest when not in a hospital.

"Our Control Room staff identify possible cardiac arrest patients quickly, and crucially dispatch the appropriate response. Our front line resources arrive at the patient's side with minimal delay and initiate advanced life support.

"We stabilise patients before moving them in the early minutes after the heart starts beating again, and we are increasingly transferring suitable patients directly to specialist heart hospitals. The figures prove unequivocally that prioritising calls pays off."

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