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Resuscitation skills training helping to improve cardiac arrest response time

Pediatrics specialist Adam Cheng authors education guidelines to help clinicians, first responders save lives
February 24, 2016
Dr. Adam Cheng serves as a member of the American Heart Association, editing the new instruction manuals aimed at improving the outcomes of critically ill children through innovative research in simulation and resuscitation.

Dr. Adam Cheng serves as a member of the American Heart Association, editing the new instruction manuals aimed at improving the outcomes of critically ill children through innovative research in simulation and resuscitation. Photos by Laura Herperger, University of Calgary 

The KidSIM Simulation Center at the Alberta Children’s Hospital uses high-fidelity mannequins to teach optimal resuscitation skills when responding to a cardiac arrest.

The KidSIM Simulation Center at the Alberta Children’s Hospital uses high-fidelity mannequins to teach optimal resuscitation skills when responding to a cardiac arrest. 

Over 40,000 Canadians suffer from cardiac arrest every year, many of them under the age of 20.  Survival rates are up, but there is still a lot of opportunity to improve care.

Canada’s top emergency scientists, clinicians, paramedics and researchers met in Toronto Feb. 23 for the first-ever national conference focused solely on advancing the science of saving lives. Among the invited speakers was Dr. Adam Cheng, a member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine.

“I’m very excited to present to this important conference. Canadians are more aware than ever of the need to respond quickly to a cardiac arrest, and we are discussing how to educate clinicians and first responders to employ the best technologies and skills to save a person’s life when it matters most,” says Cheng, an associate professor in the Department of Paediatrics.

Guidelines used by educators globally

The Canadian Emergency Care Conference will hear about the science and practice behind heart failure interventions based on newly updated Canadian guidelines. The conference is sponsored by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross Society. Cheng was selected to speak because he is the chair and co-founder of the INSPIRE network, an international research simulation collaborative focused on improving outcomes of critically ill children. Cheng notes that Canada is recognized as a world leader in increasing knowledge of how to save lives in emergency settings.

Cheng’s expertise is also being sought by the American Heart Association (AHA), the U.S. based non-profit organization that fosters cardiac care to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke.  The organization is updating its 2015 Resuscitation Guidelines and asked Cheng to develop recommendations and guidelines. These guidelines — covering training and the best tools to support that training — are used in AHA courses worldwide and published in several different languages. Once adopted, they become the basis for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s guidelines.

“To provide the new information for these manuals which will be used world-wide was a privilege. We’ve been able to include a new understanding of retraining cycles, use of feedback in CPR and instruction on the best use of high-fidelity mannequins,” he says. Cheng’s research is published in the journal Circulation.

The guidelines help hospitals meet their accreditation

The AHA issues new guidelines every five years. Adherence to the guidelines helps hospitals across North America meet their accreditation and quality improvement controls. The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and American Heart Association collect data on how patients are resuscitated and track variability of practice impacting survival and neurological recovery after a heart attack. The associations recently included medical emergency team responses in the data collection, following patients through all phases of resuscitation.   

Cheng is the director of research and development of the KidSIM-ASPIRE Simulation Research Program at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The KidSIM Centre is the largest hospital-based pediatric simulation centre in Canada and was funded by the community through the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.