University researcher aims to save lives of cardiac arrest patients

From the University of Minnesota:

In the standard procedure, emergency personnel defibrillate a person experiencing cardiac arrest — shock them — and if the person is not revived, they perform CPR for around 30 to 40 minutes. If the victim can’t be revived even with extended CPR, they are pronounced dead at the scene, Yannopoulos said.

Under the new protocol — adopted by North Memorial Health, St. Paul Regions Hospital and HealthEast — if a patient can’t be revived after three shocks, they are rushed to the University.

The cardiac arrest patient receives continuous CPR from an automated device in the back of the ambulance as the University emergency department, the cardiac catheterization lab and Yannopoulos are notified of their situation.

Once at the University, the patient is hooked up to a device that acts as an external heart, drawing blood out and revitalizing it with oxygen, then pumping it back into the body. This works as the heart normally does and gives medical professionals the time to find the problem and fix it, if possible, Yannopoulos said.

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