New heart project aims to improve survival rate
From Spotlight on Health Jan./Feb. 2007
Each day, more than 1,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospitals. Less than five percent survive, making sudden cardiac death the nation’s No. 1 killer.
Keith Lurie, M.D., is leading a team that hopes to increase the survival rate by 25 percent.
Lurie, an electrophysiologist with the Central Minnesota Heart Center at St. Cloud Hospital, is at the forefront of the nation’s first program to improve cardiac survival rates through community-wide training, distribution of new technology and implementation of new in-hospital treatments.
Keith Lurie, MD
The program, called “Take Heart St. Cloud, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Initiative,” includes:
- Training for community members to correctly perform CPR and practice using an automatic external defibrillator (AED) that delivers a measured shock by the push of a button;
- Distribution of AEDs throughout the community;
- Comprehensive training in new techniques for professional rescuers (police, fire and volunteer first responders) including new CPR techniques and new equipment. Gold Cross Ambulance and St. Cloud Technical College already have integrated the training necessary to support the initiative;
- Implementation of specific in-hospital treatments for patients who have been successfully resuscitated. These treatments include induced hypothermia for unconscious survivors and implantable cardio-defibrillators (ICDs) that pass an electric current through the heart.
Ninth-graders at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School
practice correct CPR techniques. They are learning
to use CPR and AEDs as part of the new
Take Heart St. Cloud.
“The first step is training all ninth-graders in our local high schools to use an AED and correctly perform CPR,” said Janet Steinkamp, program development specialist for Take Heart St Cloud.
“Those students are then asked to train their families. This approach means that by training 2,000 students, 6,000 more people are walking around in our communities prepared to perform CPR and to use an AED when one of us experiences a sudden cardiac arrest.”
As part of its mission to support projects in Central Minnesota that improve health and health care, CentraCare Health Foundation gave a $75,000 grant to jump start Take Heart St. Cloud. Medtronic and St. Jude Medical also have contributed $100,000 and $50,000, respectively.
“Without the training and commitment of the area police, firefighters and first responders, Take Heart St. Cloud would not happen,” said Steinkamp. “The support that we have received from Gold Cross Ambulance and St. Cloud Technical College also has been invaluable.”
St. Cloud is one of only three cities in the United States selected to implement this comprehensive program. The others are Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio. Beginning in January, outcomes of the program will be tracked for two years and compared to other cities with the hopes of serving as a national and international model for reducing death from cardiac arrest outside of hospitals.