EMS responders play a critical role in the treatment and, potentially, the prevention of the opioid epidemic we face today. Due to the staggering amount of deaths to opioid overdoses, it has been deemed a public health crisis. Opioids are responsible for decreasing the sensation of pain for the user by stimulating certain receptors in the brain. The lack of any perceived pain induces a feeling of euphoria- the feeling chased by opioid abusers.
The umbrella of opioids include heroin and several prescription painkillers such as methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and fentanyl. During an opioid overdose, the patient experiences difficulty breathing and often respiratory arrest. Unfortunately, following respiratory arrest, a common secondary outcome of an opioid overdose occurs: cardiac arrest.
EMS responders often use naloxone which reverses the effects of opioid overdose, making it possible for the patient to breathe again. This drug is time sensitive and administering it can be a risky decision. Naloxone can prompt narcotic withdrawal symptoms and if it is administered too aggressively, the patient may have violent reactions. Since cardiac arrest frequently follows respiratory arrest, it is important to check the patient’s pulse and have an AED nearby in case the patient needs to be resuscitated. It is important to abide by the local rules if you have to administer naloxone to a patient in cardiac arrest.
With the help of properly and safely administered naloxone and timely use of an AED, many lives can and will be saved. EMS responders play a vital role in helping to decrease opioid overdoses every day. With the proper rehabilitation and education opportunities, this public health crisis may, one day, be less prevalent.
For more information about cardiac emergency preparedness, please visit www.aed.com.
More than 1,000 people will suffer a non-traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) every day, says a 2014 report by the American Heart Association. Among those who experience OHCA, the overall survival rate is approximately 10 percent. For younger victims, the survival rate decreases to about 5 percent.
For some, odds can increase with automated external defibrillation. According to the report, 23 percent of EMS-treated OHCA cases have initial rhythm of ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia. This means treatment with an AED could improve chances of survival.
Learn more about OHCAs below:
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in adults
Approximately 424,000 people experience a non-traumatic OHCA every year
Of those victims, 60 percent are treated by EMS
Having a family history of cardiac arrest or prior heart disease is a major risk factor for cardiac arrest
There’s a higher percentage (10.2 percent) of survival among those who received chest compressions alone rather than chest compressions and rescue breathing (8.5 percent)
Out of hospital cardiac arrest in youth
Nearly 9,500 children under the age of 18 suffer a non-traumatic OHCA
Following an EMS-treated non-traumatic OHCA, only about an estimated 5.4 percent of youth survive to hospital discharge
Almost 7,000 fatalities occur in children each year due to OHCA
While many people say they have been trained in CPR at some point in their life, most do not understand what CPR is actually doing and just how important performing high-quality chest compressions and providing rescue breaths really is.
If a person you love suddenly collapses and is no longer breathing, they are in Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). In a panic, you may think the only thing you can do is wait for EMS to arrive, but every moment of time is critical in this dire situation. YOU can be a rescuer.
For every 60 seconds that pass, chances of surviving drops by 10% without CPR or defibrillation. After just 4 minutes, brain damage begins to occur. After 10 minutes, it is unlikely they can be saved. EMS response times are often 12-14 minutes in metro areas and even longer in rural areas. Unfortunately waiting for professionals to arrive is far too late in most cases. Providing CPR as a bystander can double or even triple chances of survival.
I would like to take a few moments to discuss the tremendous mission the team at DXE Medical has joined with our partners and Customers over the past 18 years. If anyone were to ask “Why does it matter?” our team is ready to say,
Defibrillation is the only therapy for dangerous heart arrhythmias which cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). While EMS professionals carry complex manual defibrillators, AEDs (automated external defibrillators) are compact, easy to operate medical devices designed for use by untrained individuals as well as professionals. Without training and AED education however, many Americans are reluctant to step-in and use this life-saving device for various reasons. The most important fact we would like to point out is that an AED will NOT shock a person who does not need defibrillation. Learn some common myths about AEDs here. Continue reading AEDs and Defibrillation→
Saving two lives in 24 hours—all in a day’s work for School Resource Officer, Matt Schuman, who is being recognized for saving not only one, but TWO lives in a single day!
While Schuman was on duty at Dixie Middle School in Washington County, Utah, a student came down with flu-like symptoms, prompting the school nurse to notify the girl’s parents. Officer Schuman waited with the girl for her parents to arrive as her symptoms worsened. During a few minutes when the father left to take his daughter’s belongings to the car, the young girl suddenly collapsed and began to seize, no longer able to breathe. Schuman managed to catch the girl as she collapsed, preventing her head from hitting the floor.
Matt Schuman’s training kicked in as he began CPR until she regained consciousness. While waiting on EMS, the girl again lost consciousness, going into sudden cardiac arrest. Schuman and a parent present at the school continued to perform CPR until the ambulance arrived to use a defibrillator to reset the student’s erratic heart rhythm.
Later the same day, Schuman received a dispatch call on his way home that reported a 9-month-old infant was choking. He quickly responded, realizing he was very close to the infant’s home. Schuman worked to remove the object obstructing the airway, saving the child’s life, as EMS arrived on scene. (Full story here)
AED.com recommends that EVERY school have AEDs (automated external defibrillators) readily available. Students, Teachers or even visitors to the school could be the victim of a cardiac arrest emergency. Every minute without defibrillation decreases chance of survival by 10%. Having an AED available sooner than even EMS arrives dramatically improves a positive outcome.