The Science of Saving a Life

The 2015 resuscitation guidelines were just released! For us resuscitation geeks, this is a big deal! Since the mid-1990s, every 5 years, hundreds of experts from around the world come together to review the science around cardiac arrest and resuscitation to update those guidelines. In non-scientific terms, a cardiac arrest is when someone’s heart suddenly stops beating; resuscitation is the care given to restart the heart. These updates are meant to use science and data to improve the Chain of Survival, to increase the number of people who not only survive from cardiac arrest, but also the number of people who act when needed by performing lifesaving bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and automated external defibrillation (AED).

Science supports the fact that it’s up to you, the community bystander, to be the difference between life and death in these situations, and here is how we know this…data! Lots and lots of data! The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) is the forum for all of the peer-reviewed consensus on science activity. Resuscitation organizations, including the American Heart Association (AHA), the organizing body in the U.S. for guidelines around cardiac arrest, first aid, myocardial infarction (i.e., heart attack), etc., and other partner organizations from around the globe, work together to determine how new research will affect current treatment recommendations in those areas. Because, like the book The Martian says, “Love of science is universal across all cultures.”

The International Consensus on CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science With Treatment Recommendations (phew, that’s a mouth full!) process is time-consuming and thorough. From the ILCOR Consensus, AHA convenes hundreds of experts to participate in reviewing, debating, meeting, and writing, until finally, after science-ing the sh*t out of the —> Read More