There are nearly 350,000 out-of-hospital and 750,000 in-hospital cardiac arrest events occurring in the United States each year, and while survival rates are already low at only 5 to 20 percent, many survivors suffer severe brain injury.
Because of the lack of oxygen that occurs in the minutes following cardiac arrest, even if a patient is successfully resuscitated, they may suffer consequences such as brain damage and organ failure that significantly reduce their quality of life. Post-cardiac arrest syndrome is common in patients that had a cardiac arrest due to the inflammation that occurs within the body when tissues are damaged as blood supply is recovered after prolonged oxygen deprivation, also known as reperfusion injury.
Developing methods to increase oxygen delivery to the brain during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is essential in order to improve patient survival and reduce further brain injuries after cardiac arrest. We are conducting ongoing research at the lab to establish techniques to promote circulation, preserve organ function, and reduce the likelihood of a subsequent cardiac arrest in patients post-resuscitation.