More people are walking away from a type of cardiac arrest that is nearly always fatal, thanks to a new protocol being tested at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. It’s called an ECPR alert.
Ohio State cardiologists work in conjunction with Columbus Division of Fire to implement this novel pre-hospital life support protocol that has limited availability in the U.S.
Currently, only about 10 percent of people survive a sudden cardiac arrest that happens in the field – even fewer survive with normal neurologic function. The ECPR alert is designed to change those numbers.
Columbus EMS personnel follow their protocol for ventricular fibrillation. If the patient remains in this rhythm after three defibrillation attempts, they call an ECPR alert to Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. Medics put a mechanical CPR device on the patient for transport straight to the cardiac catheterization lab where a team is assembled and waiting.
Once in the cath lab, the patient is put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), which takes over the functions of the heart and lungs. The new system worked for 68-year-old Mark Bradford of Columbus. He collapsed while on his morning walk and woke up days later after treatment in the hospital.