Dr Ola Brown (Orekunrin) has been published in the Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS). JEMS is an international medical journal which seeks to improve patient care in the pre-hospital setting and promote positive change in EMS by delivering information and education from industry leaders, change makers and emerging voices.

What is cardiac arrest?

Cardiac arrest is the abrupt loss of heart function in a person who may or may not have diagnosed heart disease. The time and mode of death are unexpected. It occurs instantly or shortly after symptoms appear.

Should management of cardiac arrest be a priority in Nigeria?

Low income countries often have healthcare budgets of as little as 5% of their Western Counterparts. Lower income countries also have a myriad of healthcare issues from infectious diseases, to lifestyle diseases, to water and sanitation.

There is a strong focus by the developed world on survival from cardiac arrest through CPR and defibrillation. However, even in the best performing countries the survival rate is about 50% and relies strongly on the quality of supporting systems such as intensive care and ambulance services (air and ground ambulance services).

Surely there are quicker, cheaper wins for developing countries

There may be quicker, cheaper wins. But in order for healthcare to be delivered in a sustainable way, the bulk of it must be delivered in the community, by the community.  Cardiac arrest is one of the few medical emergencies where skilled response by lay people makes a huge difference. This means that cardiac arrest, CPR and defibrillation should still be a priority even in developing countries.

The future of EMS seems to be in delivering urgent care services to reduce the burden on hospitals. Low income countries can lead in this area. Traditional birth attendants, midwives, community pharmacists and health workers can all be trained to respond to this out of hospital cardiac arrest.

The full article can be found here.

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