The University of Arizona Holds Novel Life-Saving Cardiac Resuscitation Training for EMS Professionals

October 7, 2015

Every day, more than 15 people suffer sudden cardiac arrest outside the hospital in Arizona.  The University of Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center has made tremendous strides in saving lives by translating basic science advancements in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) research into action by emergency providers.

Those discoveries have led to important changes in national standards and spawned the enormous need to widely disseminate these techniques to every emergency medical services (EMS) provider and in-hospital medical professional.

In response, the UA recently held its first training session, which is part of a collaborative project called “High Performance CPR University,” in the Center for Simulation and Innovation at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. EMS personnel from across the nation, as well as Japan and Taiwan, took part in the first of many planned high-fidelity training sessions. Industry partners in this effort include ZOLL Medical Corp. of Chelmsford, Mass., and Laerdal Medical of Stavanger, Norway, which supplied advanced cardiac equipment and new-generation mannequins, with the ability to give providers real-time audiovisual feedback during CPR to improve CPR performance and outcomes.

“CPR performance is what saves lives from cardiac arrest, and during the past decade we have had a wonderful partnership in our ongoing mission to implement High Performance CPR and save as many lives as possible from cardiac arrest,” said Ben Bobrow, MD, UA professor of emergency medicine and co-director of the research center in Phoenix. “We are incredibly grateful to ZOLL Medical and Laerdal Medical for having the long-term vision to help us push the limits on how many cardiac arrest victims we can return to their homes and families.”

“We are extremely fortunate that we have an outstanding facility in which to move forward this important work,” said Sam Keim, MD, director of the statewide University of Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center. “We know this kind of initiative is nearly impossible without the resources we have in the Center for Simulation and Innovation on the Phoenix campus.”

“ZOLL Medical is committed to using state-of-the-art technologies to improve CPR performance in all settings,” said Jonathan A. Rennert, president of the company. “We are proud to partner with the University of Arizona in our combined goal to effectively implement lifesaving treatments for a leading cause of death – cardiac arrest.”

UA research shows the use of the chest compression-only CPR triples survival rates and this summer the Institute of Medicine further endorsed the technique in a series of recommendations developed by a national panel of medical experts, including UA faculty members.

“With this kind of support, we can expand our efforts and train many more emergency medical professionals on the most effective resuscitation techniques,” said Dan Spaite, MD, professor of emergency medicine and co-director of UA research center in Phoenix.

“Performance, not protocol, is what saves lives from cardiac arrest.  The goal of this effort is to provide not just the knowledge, but the implementation tools to create ‘High Performance CPR’ programs across Arizona and around the world,” said Dr. Bobrow, who also is the medical director of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System for the Arizona Department of Health Services. “The high-fidelity simulation training focuses on the psychomotor skills required to deliver and measure ‘High Performance CPR’ in teams and how to make this a priority for health-care systems.”

Part of the latest effort by Dr. Bobrow’s team is to focus on effectively delivering the correct rate, depth and chest wall release during CPR, along with appropriate ventilation, patient monitoring and measuring this intervention to assure it is optimized.

“We used to think ‘CPR was CPR,’ but we now know that for CPR to save the most lives it must be done exquisitely well and that is really challenging for multiple reasons,” Dr. Keim said.

“This type of realistic simulation training may not be glorious, but it is actually what saves lives,” said Dr. Spaite.

The first training project, held in August, was held in partnership with UA researchers, the Arizona Department of Health Services Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education (SHARE) program, ZOLL Medical and Laerdal Medical. For more information, please see