The number one cause of preventable premature death in Dallas County is sudden cardiac arrest. That's six or seven lives lost each day, and it includes men and women, children and young athletes.
But emergency responders in Dallas County have learned that CPR might be the most important part of saving people from sudden cardiac arrest -- more important even than new technologies or medications.
Emergency medical services in the area have been part of a National Institutes of Health study with the goal of finding new ways to save more lives after sudden cardiac arrest and trauma.
"We are generating a lot of information for them about cardiac arrest and trauma, and we're coming up with some creative ways of approaching this that have actually been shown to save lives," said Dr. Paul Pepe, Medical Director.
Pepe said federal funding from the study has already improved training and are proven to have saved lives in several cities, including Dallas, Mesquite, Irving and Carrollton.
"What we did find is that overall, our survival rates, we were hoping to get a 10-20 percent improvement in survival rates," Pepe said. "It actually went up 55 percent in the city of Dallas alone."
Pepe said they’ve learned that basic CPR and the quality of that CPR is the key to whether a patient survives or not.
Research is showing that paramedics are already doing more chest compressions, and they’re doing them better. Soon, the study will look at how much of a difference the improved techniques are making. The Dallas EMS region is already designated a center of excellence in resuscitation medicine and research.