Report recommends hospital cardiac arrest registry participation

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Fire Chief, 509.625.7002

Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 12:14 p.m.

ATLANTA – A new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends participation in a national registry to track and improve out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) survival and bystander intervention rates. The Emory-based CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Program is an OHCA registry that has the potential to serve as the recognized registry for the US.

CARES, established through a collaborative effort between Emory and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), began in 2004 and has since expanded both nationally and internationally. Currently more than 800 EMS agencies and over 1,300 hospitals in 36 states representing a population footprint of 80 million people participate in the program. Spokane County Fire Agencies, including SFD, have been submitting data to the CARES Registry since 2010. AMR and the SFD have pragmatically made investments in the City of Spokane EMS system specifically to improve the survival from sudden cardiac arrest.

AMR practices began using CARES in 2008 as part of ongoing community efforts to improve survival and the community response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. In 2015, more than 60 of AMRs agencies are actively participating in the program along with almost 250 local hospitals to which OHCA patients are transported. AMR contributed 7,500 cases in 2015 (16% of the total CARES cases) and reported a company-wide overall survival rate higher than the national average (AMR: 11.8%; National 10.8%). Lynn White, National Director of Resuscitation and Accountable Care at American Medical Response.

“CARES has been able to track improvements in survival and bystander interventions amongst participating communities over time. Our ultimate goal of the program is to serve as a standard platform for quality assurance efforts and improve survival from OHCA,” says Bryan McNally, MD, MPH, Executive Director of CARES and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine.

“CARES has been an incredibly robust tool for Spokane County,” says Brian Schaeffer, Spokane Fire Department assistant chief. “By linking EMS data with outcomes from our local hospitals, CARES allows us to accurately measure and evaluate cardiac arrest survival. The data that the CARES system compiles allows us to develop strategies to improve our practice. There is no doubt that this has directly led to an increased number of individuals alive and neurologically intact following sudden cardiac arrest.”

McNally goes on to say, “We are excited to see that the IOM has recognized the importance of having a national registry for OHCA. We believe CARES is well positioned to be the registry for the US as we currently cover approximately 25% of the US population and have approximately 200,000 cardiac arrest events in the registry.”

The full IOM report can be accessed via

Currently, CARES is funded by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Medtronic Foundation and ZOLL Corporation. These partners have supported the concept of CARES as a national registry and emphasized the importance of promoting bystander interventions such as CPR and AED use.