Norman’s emergency medical service – EMSStat – reported higher than national average survival rates for patients experiencing cardiac arrest.
According to a 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, the overall survival to hospital discharge rate for cardiac arrest was 9.6 out of a nationwide sample of health centers. EMSStat reported an overall survival to hospital discharge rate of 20 percent, said Eddie Sims, EMSStat manager and paramedic. EMSStat is owned and operated by Norman Regional Health System.
“EMSStat and the city of Norman have a history of excellent care, but the last four years have been outstanding,” Sims said. “Norman is comparable to the best places in the nation.”
One of the most accurate ways to determine an emergency service’s success is to also look at data for survival to hospital discharge rate for witnessed cardiac arrests with an initial shockable rhythm. This means a bystander saw a person collapse, and that a life-saving device such as a defibrillator or an AED could be used. The nationwide data for this type of arrest reports a survival to hospital discharge rate of 30.1 percent. EMSStat reported a 61 percent survival to hospital discharge rate for witnessed arrests with an initial shock able rhythm.
Sims said the fast and expert care at Norman Regional facilities helps increase these survival rates. Norman Regional Health System employs special procedure, called a ‘Code STEMI’, to get patients the treatment they need quickly. In fact, Norman Regional has met the national standard of door to percutaneous coronary intervention (treatment) time of 90 minutes for 100 percent of all qualifying patients in 2011-2012, said Donna Avila RN, Cardiovascular Imaging Manager.
“Time is tissue, and establishing revascularization of coronary arteries in the 90 minute window or less can be a significant component in a patient’s survival rate,” Avila said.
“The raw numbers of patient survival rates is amazing and contributes to the overall pride in being a part of this community and health system.”
Sims also credits the way Norman’s public safety and medical professionals work together to EMSStat’s success in the field.
“The reason our rates are so good is Norman has a very cohesive system,” Sims said. “All public safety, from fire to police to dispatch, all work together, train together and are on the same page.”
Time is everything for cardiac arrest patients. Their heart has literally stopped. Sims said the survival rate goes down 10 percent for every minute a person doesn’t receive CPR.
“Fire and police get to the scene early and stop the clock and buy time,” Sims said.
Sims said the key to helping someone with a cardiac episode is to call 9-1-1 when having chest pain. Taking a CPR class is also a good thing.
“Dispatchers are trained to give CPR instructions over the phone too,” Sims said. “Just push hard and push fast.”