Chain of Survival 1


Sudden Cardiac Arrest Protocols Created in Arizona
Could Save 58,000 Lives Each Year in the United States Alone

Chest compression-only CPR is a CPR method that doubles a person’s chance of survival from sudden cardiac arrest. The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Resuscitation Research Group is world-renowned for decades of research that has led to new CPR guidelines that advocate this new method.

Sudden cardiac arrest is responsible for 295,000 deaths each year in the United States. It is a major public health issue,” says Gordon A. Ewy, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the UA Sarver Heart Center. “The survival rates were abysmal and essentially unchanged for 30 years, in spite of recurrent updates of the national CPR guidelines. Our group has focused not only on how to save lives, but also to improve the quality of life for survivors of cardiac arrest. If the protocols used in Arizona were implemented nationally, we project that 58,000 lives would be saved each year.”

View a video below on Continuous Chest Compression CPR from the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center.

Erika Yee (a 16 year old girl) saved a classmate, Chris Miller, with chest compression only CPR. He survived because of her heroic efforts and her training. Because she knew what to do when she recognized the signs of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) — she was able to save this young man.


Arizona’s cardiocerebral resuscitation protocols changed the near-half-century-old approach to resuscitation and encompasses participants at all levels including:

  • Teaching people to recognize cardiac arrest—seeing or hearing someone unexpectedly collapse who is not responsive. (Note: it is not necessary to check for pulse or breath, as gasping or agonal respiration can be mistaken for breathing, when in fact these are signs of cardiac arrest.)
  • Calling 911 for emergency medical services.
  • Starting chest-compression-only CPR without removing clothing.
  • If available, using an automated external defibrillator (AED), to shock the heart back to a normal rhythm.
  • Emergency responders do not place a breathing tube, but provide passive ventilation and continue chest compressions before and after a single shock from a defibrillator.
  • The patient is transported to a designated cardiac receiving center.
  • The 34 cardiac receiving centers throughout the state provide immediate access to a catheterization lab to open up blocked arteries 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide therapeutic mild hypothermia to cardiac arrest survivors who initially are in a coma, a procedure shown to limit brain damage. Patterned after the trauma center designation, ambulance crews have the opportunity to bypass hospitals in order to take a patient directly to the closest cardiac receiving center.

Visit University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center for more information on Chest Compression Only CPR and to sign up for CCR training.