Damar Hamlin’s remarkable resuscitation at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center marked a turning point in his ongoing care
When 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field from cardiac arrest during the January 2 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, millions of people witnessed a remarkable resuscitation in real time on live television.
The University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where Hamlin had been listed in critical condition, reported Thursday a “substantial improvement” in his condition.
Dr. Pritts said during the videoconference that his neurological condition and function is intact, as he was beginning to awaken. “This marks a really good turning point in his ongoing care.”
More than 350,000 Americans each year suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital and their chances of survival do not always look good. Most studies suggest that no more than 10% of these patients survive until hospital discharge.
As grim as that would seem, medical experts say the statistics mask much better individual outcomes for patients who receive rapid and appropriate care before they reach a hospital.
The Chain of Survival: Early CPR and Defibrillation for a Cardiac Arrest — An Empirical Study of a Case Study
Feig knows the rest of the story only from bystanders, some of whom quickly intervened and are credited with helping to save his life. My heart stopped. My eyes rolled to the back of my head. He says he had a bad appetite and was foaming at the mouth.
“That makes a whole lot more sense than … the only person who knows CPR running around the building trying to find an AED,” says Kupas, who is also director of resuscitation programs for Geisinger Health System in central Pennsylvania.
Physicians say that if more people got CPR-trained, including in the use of the AED, more lives could be saved. It’s important to keep that training current.
In what’s known as the “chain of survival,” quick recognition of sudden cardiac distress, early CPR and early defibrillation are key, says Dr. Myron Weisfeldt, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University.
While the overall number of Cardiac Arrests have remained the same, there is a belief that the survival rate has improved over the years. In 1999 Florida became the first state to require automated external defibrillators in schools, which is now used in 20 states and the District of Columbia. In most of the states that don’t require them on the books, the majority of schools have an antidote in stock.
In homes, such devices are rare, says Dr. Douglas Kupas, an EMS physician and medical director for the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.
Chirally Persistent Chest Compressions: Advice from a retired physician and the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive”
And even in public places, the location of an AED might not be obvious. In those cases, it’s important for one person to start chest compressions immediately. Someone should look for the antidote if another person isn’t available.
A recently retired doctor says that being healthy increases the chance of survival from an OHCA.
To illustrate how a quick response can make a difference for patients, Anderson points to a casino close to where he worked.
“Reinforcement of the skill888-607-888-607-888-607-888-607-888-607-3166”, is said to be very helpful by this person. “But I think we have to get over the idea that you have to be fully trained, you have to be certified, you have to have a card that’s not expired or else you’re not any good at this.”
“If you took [CPR training] 20 years ago, you still probably know a little bit more about doing good compressions than somebody who’s never had it,” he says.
“The bottom line is push hard and push fast,” agrees Anderson, who says the recommended rhythm for chest compressions is to the beat of the 1970s Bee Gees hit “Stayin’ Alive.”
He says that they are reading from a script where they should place their hand in the centre of the chest between the nipple line.
How Many Young Athletes Were There? A Memorino About Resuscitating a Boy Who Was In High School
A colleague recently shared with me a landmark publication from the 1960s on the outcomes of resuscitation. The authors — pioneers of the techniques that have become modern-day CPR — wrote about their early successes but cautioned that this procedure was to be used judiciously on patients within the hospital. They wrote that not all dying patients should be resuscitated. In order for the patient to have a possible return to functioning, they should not be in the final stages of a chronic disease. But this is not how it has come to pass.
First, there is the question of what precipitated the cardiac arrest. In a young athlete, sudden cardiac arrest is more likely because of a dangerous electrical rhythm in an otherwise healthy heart that leaves the organ unable to effectively pump blood through the body. In these situations, chest compressions will circulate blood and bring Oxygen to the brain and other vital organs until there is a defibrillated heart.
It was great to watch the rescue response and it showed the resources and planning that goes into every game in the NFL. As a parent, though, I couldn’t help but wonder what would’ve happened if Hamlin faced this when he was still in high school. What if it would’ve happened to any of my three teenage kids at their school? Would they have been saved as well?
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 2,000 people under the age of 25 die from sudden cardiac deaths each year.
He points out that when he began investigating sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes in the early 2000s, survival rates hovered around 11%. A more recent study of young athletes from 2014 to 2018 found that survival rates have climbed to an average of 68%. That’s an improvement of more than 500% in less than two decades.
Still, we can and must do better, especially at the high school level. If the life-saving device can’t be accessed within 2 to 3 minutes, there isn’t any point in increased awareness or availability.
Victoria Vetter told us that there is more to it than just having an automated External Defibrillator.
The American Heart Association recommends that defibrillators be placed within a two- to three-minute walk. Unfortunately, even in schools that have diligently purchased devices – typically at a cost of $1,000 to $2,000 – too many of them are not readily accessible.
We defined an emergency as the time when there is a serious threat to the lives of people or property. But it is essential to make sure they are always fully charged and that drills are regularly run to ensure people know how to use them.
“We have fire drills in schools generally, every month. There are active shooter drills. But we do not in most schools have sudden cardiac arrest drills,” Vetter said.
When athletes get injured, who is addressing those injuries? Kathy Dieringer, president of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, asked who was there to provide an emergency action plan in case something happened.
Matthew Mangine Jr., a soccer player at the St. Henry District High School, died in the accident. Matthew collapsed on the soccer field in 2020.
Matthew Mangine’s father told the local news that only one of the five first aid tools at the school was used on his son. His initial shock came from the EMTs. They came 12 minutes after he was down. Matthew passed away at the hospital.
John and Luann are both aware of pain. Michael was killed in a football game in 2010 when he went into cardiac arrest. “There was no ambulance or AED on the field, and it took 15 minutes for the squad to arrive,” John told CNN. “If that ambulance is arriving 15 minutes later, he’s already 150% gone.” John recalls that the doctors at the hospital worked on Michael for 45 minutes before pronouncing him dead.
Peter Laake was not the subject of this story. In 2021, the star lacrosse player was already on the varsity team as a freshman at Loyola Blakefield in Towson, Maryland. It was only after Peter was hit on the left side that things became normal. Peter told me that he collapsed on the field after blacking out.
CPR for All Staff and Athletics: Where are we now? Where do we go? What are we going to? How much do we know?
Training in CPR for all staff, athletic and educational. Availability and accessibility of AEDs with regular drills to make sure execution is flawless. The emergency action plan is posted on the internet.
As a parent, you can and should ask about all of this yourself. After witnessing what happened to Hamlin, I did just that with the athletic department at my own children’s school.