NORMAN — Norman's emergency medical service, known as EMSSTAT, has a higher survival rate for cardiac arrest patients than the national average, a study shows.
A 2011 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows the Norman service has a 20 percent survival rate, compared to the national average of 9.6 percent.
The figures are from a nationwide survey of health centers, said Eddie Sims, the service's director.
“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 look at data for survival to hospital discharge for cardiac arrests that were witnessed by someone and treated by Norman's emergency medical service, Sims said.
That means a bystander saw a person collapse and a lifesaving device such as a defibrillator was used, he said.
The nationwide data for this type of cardiac arrest reports a survival to hospital discharge rate of 30.1 percent, Sims said. Norman's emergency medical service reported a 61 percent survival to hospital discharge rate for cardiac arrests witnessed by someone and treated by paramedics, he said.
Fast and expert care at the Norman Regional hospitals also helps increase these survival rates, Sims said.
The Norman Regional Health System uses a special procedure called a “Code STEMI” to get patients the treatment they need quickly, Sims said.
Norman Regional has met the national standard time of 90 minutes for door-to-coronary intervention, which means treatment, 100 percent of the time in 2011 and to date this year, said Donna Avila, 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.
Sims also credits the way Norman's public safety and medical professionals work together to ensure Norman's emergency medical service's success in the field.
“Norman has a very cohesive system. All public safety, from fire to police to dispatch, work together, train together and are on the same page,” Sims said.
Sims said the survival rate goes down 10 percent for every minute a person doesn't receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
“Time is everything for cardiac arrest patients. Fire and police get to the scene early and stop the clock and buy the patient time,” Sims said.
The key to helping someone with a cardiac episode is to call 911 when anyone is having chest pain. Taking a CPR course also is a good idea, he said.
Dispatchers are trained to give CPR instructions over the phone, too, Sims said.
“Just push hard and fast. That's the key,” he said.