Dawson County Government News

Dawson County Partners with Northeast Georgia Medical Center to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival

First responders in Dawson County are improving the lifesaving cardiac care they provide by participating in an international program that combs tens of thousands of cases to find the best practices.

Through partnership with Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC), data from every cardiac arrest in Dawson County is sent to the International Cardiac Arrest Registry (INTCAR). The registry is a joint venture of hospitals, research societies and individuals dedicated to improving the overall care for those who suffer from cardiac arrest. By gathering cardiac arrest data from all of these sources, INTCAR allows members to analyze the big picture to determine what treatments lead to the best outcomes for patients. The registry also focuses on improving the quality of intensive care, cardiac support and post-cardiac arrest care.

Currently, in the United States, the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is less than 10 percent.

“Cardiac arrest differs from a heart attack", says Jason Grady, regional STEMI coordinator. “A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart stops – which causes a section of heart muscle to be damaged. Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating as a whole, and the patient becomes unconscious and stops breathing."

“By partnering with NGMC to analyze and send info to INTCAR, Dawson County Emergency Services is helping other first responders across the world care for cardiac arrest patients – while also learning the best practices to save lives closer to home. This is similar with what we do with STEMI patients, just on a global scale.”

Northeast Georgia Regional STEMI System is a collaborative effort between NGMC, 13 regional hospitals and EMS in 18 counties to provide fast and efficient treatment of a severe heart attack known as STEMI (ST Segment Elevation Myocardial Infarction).

“During the last decade, the STEMI System has saved hundreds of lives, thanks to the knowledge we gained from tracking data from each case,” states Jeffrey Marshall, MD, medical director of the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at NGMC. “Now we can expand that approach from one specific type of heart attack to learn about better treatment for cardiac arrest – and hopefully improve the survival.”

While EMS will use this data to better treat you and your loved ones, there is one thing all providers agree you can do to help before medical professionals arrive: learn how to perform CPR and be ready to do it when needed.

“When a person’s heart stops, every second counts – because their chance of dying increases 10 percent for every 60 seconds that they aren’t breathing,” says Allison Dupont, MD, medical director of the Northeast Georgia Cardiac Arrest Program. “If EMS response time is seven to eight minutes, then – best-case scenario – the patient has an 80 percent chance of dying by the time the ambulance arrives on the scene. You can drastically improve those chances by performing bystander CPR.”

If you see an adult suddenly collapse or find an adult who has collapsed remember to A.C.T.

  • A – Assess; look at the person for any signs of life or movement.
  • C – Call; call 911 or have someone else make the call.
  • T – Treat; perform chest compressions only.

When performing compression-only CPR, look for the center of the person’s chest, put the heel of your hand on it, place your other hand on top and begin compressions – hard and fast. Aim for two chest compressions every second or 120 compressions per minute. Continue compressions until medical personnel arrive. If an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is available, turn it on and follow the voice-guided instructions.

For more information on chest compressions only, or to set up CPR training contact Assistant Chief Danny Speaks.

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