Dec
12
2020

New Mobile Resuscitation Team Succeeded in Restoring Heartbeats

At the University of Minnesota, a new mobile resuscitation team succeeded in restoring heartbeats. This pilot project was 100% successful to restore heart circulation in cardiac arrest victims through a new mobile service carrying sophisticated equipment. To demonstrate, with a cardiac arrest the heart beat stops, and blood circulation to the heart and the whole body comes to a stop. This is to say, the oxygen deficit leads to death within only a few minutes. However, if a specialized medical team applies resuscitation methods, the body and heart survive until a cardiologist applies a cannulation procedure. This procedure involves inserting a heart catheter and placing a stent.

What is a cardiac arrest?

A cardiac arrest typically happens when one or more of the three coronary arteries get obstructed from hardening of the lining of the arteries (arteriosclerosis). This leads to a sudden lack of oxygen in the heart tissue and within minutes the electrical system within the heart causes ventricular fibrillation. This is a condition where the heart stops pumping blood. If resuscitation does not take place the person dies within minutes.

When cardiac arrest occurs in the community setting only about 6% of the patients survive. When cardiac arrest happens in the hospital setting approximately 24% survive.

Details of the Minnesota Mobile Resuscitation Consortium (MMRC) SUV program

Here is a summary of the study with details from The Lancet Nov. 13, 2020.

The response team treated 58 patients who met the criteria of the study.

  • The age of patients was from age 18 to 75, the mean age was about 57
  • 46 of 58 were male
  • Collection of cases was from December 1, 2019, to April 1, 2020
  • 100% of patients had successful cannulation procedures and all survived.
  • 58 of the patients were discharged home after a few days in hospital. They returned to normal daily activities or their lives were minimally disrupted.

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

The team used extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to oxygenate blood. This system uses a pump to circulate blood through an artificial lung back into the bloodstream. While the patient is in this holding pattern there is time to investigate the cause of the cardiac arrest. The cardiologist performs cardiac catheterization to identify where there is a blockage in one or several of the coronary arteries. When the blockage is identified the cardiologist places a stent to keep the narrowed coronary artery open.

Discussion

I mentioned before that patients with cardiac arrest in the community setting have a survival of only 6%. In the hospital setting approximately 24% of cardiac arrest patients survive. With the Minnesota pilot project described above 100% of cardiac arrest patients survived. This is an enormous achievement of the medical team. It is possible only because the team has three SUVs with the latest medical equipment. This way friends or relatives institute CPR until the resuscitation team arrives. The team provides ACLS (advanced cardiac life support). If necessary, physicians start extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (artificial lungs). A cardiologist performs cardiac catheterization to identify where there is a blockage in one or more of the coronary arteries. When the cardiologist identified the blockage, he places a stent to keep the narrowed coronary artery open. Following this the hospital discharges patients directly home. Within a few days they can return to work.

Curative versus preventive medicine

The Minnesota pilot project is a curative medicine project. By doing stent placement you can extend life, typically by 10 to 15 years. But on the long-term it is wiser to adopt a Mediterranean type diet with more vegetables and fruit and also avoiding sugar and processed food. If, in addition, you exercise regularly, you can avoid cardiac arrest as your coronary arteries stay wide open. You may live 20 years longer following such simple lifestyle changes. It is known for a long time that patients with cardiac arrest and no CPR have a poor survival rate.

New Mobile Resuscitation Team Succeeded in Restoring Heartbeats

New Mobile Resuscitation Team Succeeded in Restoring Heartbeats

Conclusion

The University of Minnesota introduced a pilot project where mobile resuscitation teams succeeded in restoring heartbeats in record time. When needed they also used artificial lungs (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) to stabilize the patient’s condition. A cardiologist did cardiac catheterization to identify whether there was a blockage in one of the coronary arteries. When the cardiologist identified the blockage, the specialist placed a stent to keep the narrowed coronary artery open. Before this program cardiac arrest survival was 6% in the community setting and 24% in the hospital setting. With the Minnesota pilot project described above 100% of cardiac arrest patients survived. The Minnesota team wants to slowly expand their program to other states. And in the long term they want to make it the standard of care for cardiac arrest management in all of the US.

About Ray Schilling

Dr. Ray Schilling born in Tübingen, Germany and Graduated from Eberhard-Karls-University Medical School, Tuebingen in 1971. Once Post-doctoral cancer research position holder at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto, is now a member of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M).