CPR-2According to the American Heart Association,cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function caused by the heart’selectrical system malfunctioning. Each year about 295,000 emergency medicalservices-treated out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States.And as many know from the loss of loved ones, cardiac arrest is one of ournation’s leading killers.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation – or CPR – isan easy-to-learn technique that can double a cardiac arrest victim’s chance ofsurvival, but only if administered immediately and effectively. Sadly, lessthan one third of all out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims received CPR froma bystander. Why?

There are several barriers preventingwidespread CPR education dissemination to the public: the need for trainedCPR-certified instructors to conduct a course, and the cost and length of acourse itself. In addition, many CPR training activities occur in the workplaceor in a school among younger, healthier subjects. However, most sudden cardiacarrests occur in the home with spouses of similarly-aged family members.

To help improve the odds of survival for ourpatients once they leave our hospital, PPMC is participating in the CPR Hospital-Initiated Training Project.The program was first piloted atPPMC in 2010. Championed fromthe start by Jim Kurtz, RN, the initiative has seen great success overthe years. In fact, earlier this year, the project grew and is now beingcarried out in seven other facilities in the region, including HUP and PAH.

“The goal of the project is to use thehospital as a unique ‘point of capture’ to empower at-risk families with thelife-saving tool of CPR,” said Audrey L. Blewer, MPH, project manager.

Through the project, CPR training is offeredon the cardiology and telemetry wards where nurses work with family members ofpatients with cardiovascular risk factors to learn the life-saving skill ofCPR. Families with at-risk members will be sent home with an American HeartAssociation “CPR Anytime Kit” – a 25-minute program complete with a personalinflatable manikin and instructional DVDs. “This Anytime Kit overcomes many ofthe barriers to traditional CPR courses, such as timing and expense,” saidBlewer, “and emphasizes hand-on-practice, allowing participants to gainconfidence and be willing to share what they’ve learned with others.”

The project is part of a study funded by theNational Institutes of Health and led by Principal Investigator, BenjaminAbella, MD, MPhil, of the Center for Resuscitation Science at HUP.In addition to teaching and empowering others within and outside of the hospitalenvironment to save lives with CPR, the study will also follow-up withparticipants to track instruction retention, all in an effort to better refinetraining methods.

Many thanks go out tothe PPMC volunteers who have been an integral part of this project for the lastfew years!