New CPR protocol being used in St. Louis area -

New CPR protocol being used in St. Louis area

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS ( -- In the case of an emergency, standing by and wondering what is happening to a loved one can be a terrifying feeling. That is one reason the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District is trying to create awareness about its new CPR protocol that went into effect in January.

“When we arrive on the scene, most people think we are going to grab the patient and run, but that is not what the evidence shows [we should do]. The evidence shows we are better staying and doing compressions and managing that patient in a stable environment.” said Mark Flauter, Deputy Chief of EMS with Florissant Valley Fire.

Cardiac arrests, like heart attacks, make up about 12-15 of the calls the department responds to in a month so it is a small but steady portion of the job.

“When we are dealing with a patient with cardiac arrest, the first thing a person might notice is we are on scene a little bit longer than what they may anticipate and the reason for this is studies have shown uninterrupted chest compression for the first six minutes in the event of a cardiac arrest has shown to increase survival rates,” said Flauter.

Because of new science, the department is changing the way they respond.

“Under the old protocols, we would arrive and maybe do an initial two minutes of CPR and then we would move the patient from wherever they are found, floor, bed, or bathroom, and move them to our stretcher. Sometimes we are not able to get the stretcher to where they are so we will have to carry them to the stretcher and that interrupts chest compressions. Then we move the patient on the stretcher out of the house to the ambulance. You can’t do the best compressions standing on the stretcher. So there are a lot of interruptions in compressions that don’t benefit the patient in the long run,” said Flauter.

Now, they will stay on scene and do at least six minutes of uninterrupted compressions.

“We just want people to realize just because we are on scene a little longer than they may anticipate, this is in the best interest of the patient,” said Flauter.

While this method may be new to Florissant Valley, the St. Charles County Ambulance District (SCCAD) has been doing it for two years.

According to Kyle Gaines with SCCAD, they have seen survival rates double. Gaines said with so much data showing notable improvements, he expects other departments to begin adapting the new protocol.

In Florissant Valley, the new method will only be used for adults. Officials there said in the case of children, cardiac arrest is rarely a primary issue, meaning it is often in addition to other serious injuries so they will rush them to the hospital to get full treatment while doing CPR like before.

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