July 27, 2010
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Governmental agencies in the United States and Canada will provide funding for another six years to the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC), a clinical research network studying early delivery of interventions for serious trauma and cardiac arrest by emergency medical services (EMS) teams. The Alabama Resuscitation Center, located at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), is one of 10 sites involved in the project.
The ROC will receive $65 million in funding from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal and Canadian agencies over the next six years, following $55 million in funding since the consortium was founded in 2004.
The ROC researchers include EMS and fire personnel, public safety workers, hospital staff, community healthcare providers and medical centers in 10 regions across the United States and Canada. Since 2004, the ROC has enrolled tens of thousands of patients to test pre-hospital interventions that aim to improve outcomes in severely ill or injured patients before they are transported to a hospital.
"If paramedics and EMS personnel knew which resuscitation efforts were most effective, and could apply them within the first minutes after cardiac arrest or a serious trauma, many lives could be saved," said Jeffrey Kerby, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of surgery in the section of Trauma, Burns and Critical Care and principal investigator for ROC at UAB.
The ROC has established the largest observational registry of patients with cardiac arrest in the world with more than 66,000 patients. A separate registry contains more than 13,000 trauma cases. Registry data suggest that communities with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) have nearly twice the survival rates of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest compared to communities without AEDs.
The ROC has also demonstrated that better CPR, including more compressions during resuscitation efforts, is associated with greater survival to hospital discharge in patients with ventricular fibrillation, a type of potentially fatal and abrupt disorganization of the heart's rhythm.
Henry E. Wang, M.D., associate professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, is co-principal investigator at UAB. Shannon Stephens, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, instructor of medicine and clinical research coordinator in the Department of Emergency Medicine, is project director.
About the UAB Health System
The UAB Health System includes all of the University of Alabama at Birmingham's patient care activities, including UAB Hospital, the Callahan Eye Foundation Hospital and The Kirklin Clinic. UAB is the state of Alabama's largest employer and an internationally renowned research university and academic health center whose professional schools and specialty patient care programs are consistently ranked as among the nation's top 50; find more information at www.uab.edu and www.uabmedicine.org.