Pike County, PA – On Friday, July 16, 2010 Pike County Advanced Life Support will launch a new life-saving treatment that will improve the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest if you live in Pike or Wayne Counties. Cardiac arrest is most often caused by a heart attack and occurs when a patient stops breathing and no longer has a pulse.
Pike County Advanced Life Support Paramedics and EMTs are using an innovative solution to treat patients that suffer from cardiac arrest. The new treatment is called induced or therapeutic hypothermia. This exciting therapy involves drastically lowering a patient’s body temperature to a hypothermic temperature. By cooling the body, toxins in the brain are prevented from accumulating. This helps reduce the amount of neurologic injury in a patient that has suffered a cardiac arrest. Pike County ALS started this new program based on recommendations from the Advanced Life Support Task Force of the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation in coordination with the American Heart Association.
Pike County ALS recently received authorization from Emergency Medical Services of Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Department of Health’s Regional EMS Office to start using this aggressive new treatment. The new protocol involves paramedics intravenously infusing a large amount of cold normal saline solution into a patient that has had a spontaneous return in circulation after a cardiac arrest. In international studies, this new treatment has been shown to drastically improve the patient’s chance of survival and improve neurological function in patients that survive a cardiac arrest. In most studies, a favorable neurological outcome was seen to increase by at least twenty percent. Pike County ALS believes it is the first EMS service in region to institute this new treatment.
Paramedics and EMTs received training in the month of May and the devices to use this treatment were purchased in June. The devices were placed in two of the five Pike County ALS units. The Department of Health has notified all of the local hospitals of this change of protocol and Pike County ALS has notified all of the local ambulance services and fire departments.
Patient’s that receive this treatment will only be allowed to be transported to hospitals that are capable of continuing this important treatment. Pike County ALS Director of Operations Kyle Wright stated that “It continues to remain cost prohibitive for all hospitals
to have this treatment, but so far Pocono Medical Center, Horton Hospital, and all of the Scranton Hospitals are able to accept patients that have received this treatment in the field.”
This treatment is in addition to the pharmacological, electrical and advanced airway interventions that Pike County Advanced Life Support provides in addition to the emergency services provided by local ambulance corps and fire departments. Pike County ALS is a
non-profit paramedic service providing 911 services to Pike County and the surrounding area since 2003. Donations for this program can be sent to Pike County ALS, PO Box 384 Dingmans Ferry, PA.