Improving survival from cardiac arrest and severe trauma is at the heart of "ROC": The new launched Canada-U.S. Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium

March 24, 2006

Today marks the official launch of a massive Canada-U.S. research collaboration aimed at dramatically improving survival rates after cardiac arrest and severe trauma when they occur in the community.

Canadian and U.S. research funding agencies are partnering in the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC), an ambitious multi-year program to conduct a large number of tightly-coupled clinical trials.

The ROC will involve public safety agencies, regional hospitals, community healthcare institutions, tertiary care centers and may include as many as 15,000 patients per year over a three-year period. Emergency medical services, as well as fire services, will be an integral part of the research network that will conduct clinical trials of potential new treatments for cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury that occur in Canadian and U.S. communities.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) - Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSFC) are working in collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the lead U.S. agency, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the U.S. Department of Defense and the American Heart Association. Initial funds of $50 million USD have been committed to the Consortium.

There are an estimated 40,000 incidents of cardiac arrests each year in Canada, most of which take place out of hospital settings. The odds of survival for an out-of-hospital arrest are a dismal 5%. Severe injury is also a major public health problem. About 14,000 fatal injuries occur each year in Canada. And for every patient who dies there are another three patients who are severely disabled in North America.

"Far, far too many Canadians die each year from sudden cardiac arrest and traumatic events that occur in the public, at home, and in the workplace. The good news is that there is a growing body of research - basic research and small studies - that suggests a significant number of these people can be saved," said Dr. Bruce McManus, Scientific Director with the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health. "For the first time we will know, based on large and well designed studies, what interventions really make a difference."

Within the ROC, two committees have been established to develop clinical trials that address different aspects of trauma and cardiac arrest. The first study will test the use of saline solutions similar to the body's own fluids on trauma patients and the second will test the effectiveness of a new device administered during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to enhance blood flow.

In addition to the clinical trials, the Consortium is currently enrolling patients into a new database of all cardiac arrest and trauma events that occur in communities. This will be the first ongoing, multi-city comprehensive database with information about how field treatment leads to patient survival.

All of the interventions to be tested in the new program have in many instances been shown in smaller, single center studies to be safe and to potentially have a life-saving effect. The Consortium's testing of new techniques, as well as well-known techniques, will provide the large-scale proof of effectiveness needed to support widespread adoption and use across both Canada and the U.S., and perhaps elsewhere.

"It is gratifying to see the successful launch of a major bilateral effort between Canada and the United States to improve the survival and clinical outcome of trauma victims," said Dr. Pang Shek, Head Operational Medicine, DRDC. "This research has profound implications for implementing better resuscitation strategies for civilian and military casualties alike."

"This is the first time we've established a collaborative group to do large-scale clinical trials to improve the treatment of patients with traumatic injury and cardiac arrest in communities," says Dr. Jim Christenson, Heart and Stroke Foundation spokesperson. "Large multi-center studies in patients with heart attacks and heart failure have answered questions about the best treatments. As a result, we've seen greatly improved survival for these disorders. That's what we want to do with cardiac arrest and traumatic injury."

Dr. Ian Stiell (University of Ottawa, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute) is the lead investigator for the Ottawa and Vancouver, British Columbia sites, while Dr. Arthur Slutsky (University of Toronto) is the lead investigator for Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.



For more information contact:

Marie-France Poirier
CIHR Media Relations
Phone: (613) 941-4563 or Cell: (613) 447-4794

Nena Snyder
Defence Research and Development Canada - Toronto
Phone: (416) 635-2036

Jane-Diane Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Phone: (613) 569-4361, ext 273