Cardiac Arrest Center

Flagstaff Medical Center has been designated a Cardiac Arrest Center by the Arizona Department of Health Services Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma System. As a Cardiac Arrest Center, FMC provides comprehensive, technologically advanced care to those who have a sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiac Arrest Centers must meet the following standards:

  • Cardiac intervention capabilities including a Cardiac Cath Lab and an interventional cardiologist available 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • A therapeutic hypothermia method to cool the patient for at least 24 hours after a cardiac event, which reduces the risk of brain and organ damage
  • A coordinated approach to cardiac care with local emergency medical personnel to provide specific lifesaving protocols before the patient arrives at the hospital

Cardiac arrest is not a heart attack; it is a devastating event in which the heart abruptly and without warning ceases to function. Heart disease, which can be a cause of sudden cardiac arrest, is the number one killer of men and women in the United States. Recent data shows each year more than 166,000 people in the U.S. have a cardiac arrest outside a hospital, with less than five percent surviving the incident. Every minute that passes before a cardiac arrest is treated decreases the chance of survival by 10 percent. However, when a person receives bystander CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) before emergency medical personnel arrive to start lifesaving care, and then is transported to a Cardiac Arrest Center, the chance of survival increases to approximately 33 percent.

Eric Cohen, M.D., FMC medical director of the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona physician offices, and FMC's Guardian Medical Transport have been instrumental in establishing in-the-field cardiac arrest protocols for Arizona EMS agencies. Arizona is the only state with a network of coordinated cardiac arrest care – from bystanders to EMS to hospitals; and is the only state with EMS guidelines which permit EMS personnel to start cooling a cardiac arrest patient before arrival at a hospital.