Medtronic Foundation invests US$15 Million in multistate project to reduce sudden cardiac arrest deaths

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The Medtronic Foundation announced a US$15 million investment in the HeartRescue Project to reduce sudden cardiac arrest deaths in the United States. This project assembles the country’s leading emergency and resuscitation experts to expand successful city and county sudden cardiac arrest response programmes to statewide levels.

More than 90% of Americans who experience sudden cardiac arrest die in minutes and over the past 30 years, the national survival rate of 8% has not increased on the national level since 1979, according to a 2009 study from the University of Michigan. Therefore, the main goal of the project is to improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rates by at least 50% in five years within pilot states of Arizona, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington in USA.

HeartRescue Partners at the Universities of Arizona, Duke, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Washington, and their partner agencies, will for the first time at a multistate level coordinate proven protocols and high-tech treatments along three critical levels of response: bystanders, emergency medical services and hospitals.

HeartRescue Partners already have demonstrated that sudden cardiac arrest is a treatable event and have made significant advances in their areas of research and expertise to help save more lives. The task now is to replicate that success on a statewide basis, and eventually nationwide.

“Extraordinary statistics call for extraordinary action,” said Bill Hawkins, Medtronic chairman and chief executive officer. “Over the years, we’ve made progress in reducing deaths in other areas of heart disease, why not sudden cardiac arrest? We have a lot of work to do, but with the nation’s leading experts now working together to implement proven response protocols and collecting data that will drive further improvements, we are hopeful we can save more lives.”

About the HeartRescue Project

The Medtronic Foundation has committed more than $15 million over the next five years to fund five state projects, with all HeartRescue Partners sharing the underlying strategy of a multi-layered, coordinated and comprehensively measured community-wide response to sudden cardiac arrest events.

Their approach acknowledges that there is no single solution to improving sudden cardiac arrest survival and relies on simultaneous delivery of best practices that include effective and early bystander response, increased access to automated external defibrillators, 911 dispatch-assisted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and therapeutic hypothermia.

Measurement and commonality in data collection also will be a critical component of the HeartRescue Project. Currently, there is no national standard for sudden cardiac arrest performance and outcomes measurement, leaving communities to set their own data collection protocols. This makes it difficult to improve systems of care with no real benchmarking capability to determine successful practices.

With the aim to achieve a national standard, HeartRescue Partners have agreed on a common set of data collection points, and will use the Center for Disease Control’s CARES Registry (cardiac arrest registry to enhance survival) to measure their progress. Over the next five years, partners will collect sudden cardiac arrest data for all cases state-wide and report results on a yearly basis.

“It is been said before that you cannot improve what you do not measure, and the same applies to sudden cardiac arrest,” said HeartRescue Partner, Lance Becker, University of Pennsylvania. “Until we bring the needed resources, research and national standards for data collection to the forefront, we won’t know for sure what works, what does not or why.”

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