Mayo Clinic leads deployment of new cardiac arrest treatment

Rochester, Minn.-based Mayo Clinic is leading an effort in the city alongside first responders to assess whether patients who do not respond to shock treatments during cardiac arrest outside the hospital are candidates for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO.

The machine, which pumps blood to the heart and lungs to sustain life, is not typically used in early treatment. But providing early access to the therapy may be the difference between life and death for those who qualify, according to a Feb. 15 news release from Mayo Clinic.

Because it has to be done quickly, first responders must see if a candidate qualifies, and if they do and first responders are able to transport them to a hospital in less than 30 minutes, those patients will be able to receive access to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation treatment. 

A study of the method of treatment, published in the Lancet, found that patient outcomes improved by about six times for those who received ECMO treatment. 

"We are changing the way we deliver care to our out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients. This is an innovative therapy that we are bringing to the people of Rochester and surrounding communities," Alexander Finch, MD, a Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician and lead for the initiative, said in the release.

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