CPR Instructions Should Focus On Continuous Chest Compressions, UT Southwestern Physicians Recommend

From Science Daily, an excerpt:

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) instructions given over the phone by emergency dispatchers to lay rescuers should focus primarily on continuous chest compressions instead of the traditional ABC’s – “airway, breathing, circulation,” according to Dr. Paul Pepe, chairman of emergency medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Pepe, along with international colleagues from the Council of Standards for the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch (NAED), made the recommendation in the May issue of the journal Resuscitation.

The council had been asked to update and modify protocols for emergency dispatchers who may need to give rapid telephone instructions on how to perform CPR. The council’s recommendations were based largely on experimental data and a supportive clinical trial that found improved survival with a “compressions-only” approach. The council’s recommendations were also based on the notion that simplifying the guidelines would increase the chances that CPR will be performed since some people may be reluctant to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

New, Simpler Treatment Guidelines Could Save Heart Attack Patients

From Science Daily

A University of Cincinnati (UC) physician is the lead author of new, simplified guidelines designed to help physicians treat and prevent heart attacks.

The original guidelines, issued by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American Heart Association (AHA), tell emergency department physicians how to recognize early symptoms of heart attack, and what to do next.

The problem, said Brian Gibler, MD, chairman of UC’s Department of Emergency Medicine, is that navigating the daunting 95 pages of the complete ACC/AHA guidelines probably leaves them underused.

Now, in the August edition of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Gibler and other national emergency medicine and cardiology experts provide a distilled review of the ACC/AHA guidelines.

“It’s critical that physicians know how to determine whether an emergency patient with chest pain is at high or low risk of a heart attack,” Dr. Gibler said. “If used, the review will help physicians diagnose acute coronary events quicker, and provide faster treatment that may even prevent a heart attack or damage to the heart before it happens.”

Each year, more than 5.3 million patients are treated in hospital emergency departments for chest pains. The challenge, Dr. Gibler points out, is for doctors to quickly identify those who are at highest risk for a heart attack.

CA Hospital May Close Its ED

From the Mercury News

Downey Regional Medical Center may have to close its emergency room because of the exorbitant costs of treating uninsured patients, hospital officials said.

Nine other emergency rooms in the county have shut down since 2003. Downey’s, which served 46,307 patients last year, would be the largest recent closure and would force crowded hospitals in Whittier and Bellflower to absorb its patients, county officials said.

“It’s going to be horrible,” said Carol Meyer, the county’s head of emergency services. “Our emergency system is falling apart.”

On Tuesday, the private nonprofit hospital asked the county Board of Supervisors to help pay for treating poor patients by approving a plan that would have entailed a tax hike. Supervisors rejected that appeal, arguing that helping Downey could prompt other hospitals to come calling for aid.

The county’s Department of Health Services is staring at a $1 billion shortfall over the next three years.

“I don’t know how you could ask us to subsidize a private nonprofit,” Supervisor Gloria Molina said. “Every single hospital would line up, because they have the same situation as you do.”