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IOM: Make CPR Mandatory High School Requirement

Increasing community CPR competence could boost cardiac arrest survival, panel says

WEDNESDAY, July 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Far too few Americans are surviving cardiac arrest, and a new report issued Tuesday by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) offers strategies to boost survival rates.

According to the new report, fewer than 6 percent of the 395,000 Americans who suffer cardiac arrest outside a hospital each year will survive. And even in a hospital setting, cardiac arrest survival rates are low. Roughly 200,000 events occur each year in hospitals but just 24 percent of those patients survive.

Key actions that might help save lives, according to the report: Monitor performance and track progress through a national registry of cardiac arrests, which could help health officials spot problems; improve the performance of emergency medical service systems, focusing on dispatcher-assisted CPR and high-performance CPR; develop strategies to boost care within hospitals, including setting national cardiac arrest accreditation standards; and adopt “continuous quality improvement programs” for cardiac arrest to encourage training within hospitals.

The committee also supports CPR and automated electronic defibrillator training as graduation requirements for all middle and high school students. “Although breakthroughs in understanding and treating cardiac arrest are promising, the ability to deliver timely interventions and high-quality care is inconsistent,” Robert Graham, M.D., chair of the study committee, said in a news release from the National Academy of Sciences, which oversees the Institute of Medicine. “Cardiac arrest treatment is a community issue, requiring a wide range of people to be prepared to act.” Graham directs the national program office for Aligning Forces for Quality at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

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