BRAMPTON, ON. (July 19, 2012) – Peel Paramedics are the first in Ontario to enrol cardiac arrest patients in a new trial examining whether cooling the body’s temperature as part of paramedic treatment will save more lives. The procedure is generally reserved for emergency room and Intensive Care Unit treatment.
To date, eight cardiac arrest patients have received a medical treatment known as cooling from Peel paramedics as part of a new trial.
“We know that when a cardiac arrest patient’s temperature is lowered, the chances of severe brain damage and death are reduced,” says Dr. Sheldon Cheskes, co-principal investigator of the trial and Medical Director, Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine. “Cooling a patient at the scene of the arrest may lead to even higher cardiac arrest survival rates in Peel and improve the possibility of survival without brain damage.”
Cooling, also known as therapeutic hypothermia, involves administering a chilled saline solution intravenously to the patient as well as applying ice packs on the neck, armpit and groin areas. This can lower body temperature by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius, which decreases the work the heart has to do while injured and slows down the brain’s need for oxygen.
In 2011, Peel paramedics responded to 1,175 cardiac arrests. To date, paramedics have enrolled eight patients; the trial began in Peel in early July.
“The level of healthcare expertise our paramedics provide residents continues to grow with our participation in this trial,” says Peter Dundas, Chief, Peel Regional Paramedic Services.
The trial is being led by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The trial is expected to last for two years and involve over 1,000 patients. Other emergency medical services are expected to join the study over the next few months.
Peel Paramedics respond to more than 85,000 emergency medical calls every year. For more information about Peel Regional Paramedic Services, visit peelregion.ca/paramedics.
The Regional Municipality of Peel was incorporated in 1974 on the principle that certain community and infrastructure services are most cost-effectively administered over a larger geographic area. The Region of Peel serves more than one million residents in the Cities of Brampton and Mississauga and the Town of Caledon. For more information on the Region of Peel, please call 905-791-7800, or visit our website at peelregion.ca.