A new NHLBI-funded study showed that a change in the type of breathing tube paramedics use to resuscitate patients with sudden cardiac arrest can significantly improve the odds of survival and save thousands of lives. More than 90 percent of Americans who experience sudden cardiac arrest die before, or soon after, reaching a hospital.
“During resuscitation, opening the airway and having proper access to it is a key factor for the survival of someone who goes into cardiac arrest outside of a hospital," said George Sopko, M.D., M.P.H., program director in the NHLBI's Division of Cardiovascular Sciences and coauthor of the study. "But one of the burning questions in prehospital emergency care has been, 'Which is the best airway device?'”
The study is the largest of its kind to test oxygen delivery methods used by firefighters, emergency medical service (EMS) providers and paramedics. It is the first to show that a particular airway intervention can positively affect patient survival rates. The findings were published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association.