A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends the establishment of a national registry to track out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA), while boosting involvement in teaching bystander CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to communities. The Emory-based CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Program is an OHCA registry that has the potential to serve as the model for a national registry.
The report emphasizes that, “A national responsibility exists to improve the likelihood of survival and favorable neurologic outcomes following a cardiac arrest. This will require immediate changes in cardiac arrest reporting, research, training and treatment.”
CARES, established through a collaborative effort between Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), began in 2004 and has since expanded nationally and internationally. Currently more than 800 EMS agencies and over 1,300 hospitals in 36 states representing a population footprint of 80 million people participate in the program.
“CARES has been able to track improvements in survival and bystander interventions among participating communities over time,” says Bryan McNally, MD, MPH, executive director of CARES and associate professor of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “The ultimate goal of our program is to serve as a standard platform for quality assurance efforts and to improve survival from OHCA.”
McNally goes on to say, “We are excited to see that the IOM has recognized the importance of having a national registry for OHCA. We believe CARES is well positioned to be the registry for the US as we currently cover approximately 25 percent of the US population and have approximately 200,000 cardiac arrest events in the registry.”
Currently, CARES is funded by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Medtronic Foundation and ZOLL Corporation. These partners have supported the concept of CARES as a national registry and emphasized the importance of promoting bystander interventions such as CPR and AED use.
According to McNally, registry data suggests survival rates from OHCA are trending in the right direction. With numerous states participating in CARES, and now the IOM supporting a national registry, the hope is that the message continues to reach more communities to promote participation in the registry and benefit even more cardiac arrest patients.
The full IOM report can be accessed online: “Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act.”