For Immediate Release - April 19 2016 – The Frankfort Fire Department will soon be putting new procedures in place which they feel will increase the quality of care for cardiac arrest patients according to Fire Chief Eddie Slone.
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly, which is caused by arrhythmias, including abnormal or irregular heart rhythms. When this occurs immediate attention is needed by starting CPR right away, using a defibrillator to shock the heart and establish a normal heart rhythm, and in many cases the administration of cardiac drugs. Without these tools death can occur within minutes of a cardiac arrest.
Frankfort Fire and EMS’ new protocols include staying on the scene longer and giving quality care at the site according to Emergency Medical Services Director Steve Clark. Clark said in the past the accepted course of action was, once Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were on site, to immediately transport the patient to the hospital via ambulance. “It’s extremely difficult to perform CPR in the back of a moving ambulance. We just can’t give the quality of care that is needed in those situations,” Clark said.
Dr. Walt Lubber, Frankfort Fire and EMS Medical Director, stated that studies show performing CPR in a moving vehicle is often ineffective, but early CPR involving good, quality chest compressions is a key element in the survival for cardiac arrest patients. “A second that CPR is delayed is less of a chance for that patient’s survival. We want to give each patient the best possible chance we can,” Lubber continued.
Essentially, the new protocol ensures the nationally recognized standard or care is carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible and without interruptions.
“We will be implementing another significant change in protocol during cardiac arrest responses. After 20 minutes with the patient either we get return of spontaneous circulation or we pronounce the patient deceased on scene after consulting with a physician via phone or radio,” said Lubber about the new standard.
“There is a misconception that the hospital ER can do so much more for the patient experiencing sudden onset cardiac arrest, but there is not a lot that we (paramedics) can’t do for the patient that the hospital ER staff can. We do CPR, intubations, IVs, meds, and defibrillation. There have been many times that we get the patient to the hospital ER only to have the physician on call pronounce the patient deceased immediately. This is because the cardiac arrest protocol has already been completed by the crew providing care,” Clark explained. “They do have more people on hand, but the care is essentially the same.”
According to Chief Slone these new protocols, although new to Frankfort and essentially to the state of Kentucky, are part of an evolving standard. “The truth is we are not going to be able to save every patient that goes into cardiac arrest, but we feel these changes will enable us to give patients the best possible chance of survival,” Slone said.
Slone continued, “Our goal is not only to increase the success rate with cardiac arrest, but also preserve their long term quality of life. With the implementation of these new protocols coupled with the definitive care at Frankfort Regional Medical Center, especially the emergency cardiac catheterization, I think we are headed in the right directions.”
Frankfort Fire and EMS Cardiac Arrest Procedures Modified
City of Frankfort
315 West Second Street
P. O. Box 697
Frankfort KY 40601