UI Hospital To Receive $2.5 Million for Heart Rescue Project in Illinois

The University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System has received a $2.5 million grant from the Medtronic Foundation to coordinate Illinois Heart Rescue, an ambitious statewide all-volunteer effort to more than double survival from sudden cardiac arrests in Illinois.

Gov. Pat Quinn will launch Illinois Heart Rescue and observe a demonstration of bystander-performed, chest-compression-only CPR at a news conference Aug. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Chicago Fire Academy South Simulation Training Center at 1338 S. Clinton St., Chicago.

“In sudden cardiac arrest, a few seconds of time can make a lifetime of difference,” says Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek, professor and chair of emergency medicine at the University of Illinois Hospital, who will serve as a project leader. “The Medtronic Foundation has given us an opportunity to help the people of Illinois make that difference.”

The all-volunteer leadership team for Illinois Heart Rescue represents an unusually broad collaboration among physicians, health professionals, community organizations, hospitals, EMS systems, fire departments and governmental agencies across the state.

Leaders in the initiative include the Chicago Fire Department, Chicago EMS System, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Chicago Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation Education Service (CCARES) and the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System.

“Currently, one of the missing links in the ‘chain of survival’ is data,” said Dr. Joseph Weber, Chicago EMS director, emergency-medicine physician at Stroger Cook County Hospital and assistant professor at Rush Medical College. “This grant will allow us to quantify cardiac-arrest survival across the state. We can then use this data to direct quality improvement initiatives and track progress on our ultimate goal of improving cardiac arrest survival in Illinois.”

Illinois Heart Rescue aims to more than double survival from sudden cardiac arrests by strengthening three key links in the chain of survival: bystander CPR, pre-hospital resuscitation by EMS, and post-arrest care through hospital interventions.

In the first moments, a knowledgeable bystander who can begin CPR can save a life. Illinois Heart Rescue’s community initiative will aim to improve bystander CPR in Illinois through free instruction.

“If you see someone collapse, the message is simple: Call 911. Start doing chest compressions, 100 beats per minute and two inches deep. Call for someone to bring an AED and use it. These actions alone can save someone’s life,” said Dr. Amer Aldeen, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Northwestern University, co-director of CCARES and Illinois Heart Rescue community liaison.

“We plan to spread the message of bystander CPR and AEDs throughout Illinois, especially in our relatively underserved urban and rural areas,” said Aldeen. Illinois Heart Rescue will use social media, multi-lingual and culturally-sensitive messaging, athletic events, and community health fairs to reach the diverse population of Illinois.

Evidenced-based best practices for pre-hospital care will be taught to 911 dispatchers, EMTs, firefighters, and paramedics in simulator training at the Chicago Fire Academy Simulation Center and later at simulation centers in Peoria and Evanston.

“We will bring the science of cardiac-arrest resuscitation to the streets through simulation training,” said Dr. Eric Beck, EMS Medical Director for Chicago and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “Simple things like high-quality, uninterrupted chest compressions and limiting patient movement during cardiac arrest have been shown to dramatically improve survival.”

Illinois Heart Rescue will also include a demonstration project, linking hospitals to post-cardiac-arrest care experts, modeled on the highly successful Illinois Poison Control Center, which links hospitals to expert advice.

“We are especially pleased to partner with Illinois Heart Rescue in this important initiative to eliminate disparities in sudden cardiac arrest and to improve cardiac arrest outcomes in our state, particularly in Chicago and underserved rural areas of the state,” said Dr. Derek J. Robinson, executive director, Illinois Hospital Association’s Quality Care Institute. Almost 30 hospitals throughout Illinois will collaborate initially to collect outcome data and champion state-of-the-art care for patients post-resuscitation.

Other grant partners include the American Heart Association, the Chicago Cubs, the American Red Cross, the Chicago Department of Public Health and many community organizations that include local health clinic systems and neighborhood groups.

“Illinois Heart Rescue has an enormous potential to save lives in Chicago and suburban and rural communities throughout the state,” said Vanden Hoek. “The unprecedented collaboration from so many Illinois institutions gives us a foundation we believe can be sustained and serve as a model for other states.”

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