While 20% of people who go into cardiac arrest in a hospital recover, less than 6% of cats and dogs survive the same event.
A team of veterinary specialists, led by Dr. Manuel Boller of the Center for Resuscitation Science at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Dan Fletcher of Cornell University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, is working to provide better recommendations to help more pets survive.
Decoded Science talked to Dr. Fletcher about how the Reassessment Campaign on Veterinary Resuscitation (RECOVER) came about, their preliminary findings, published in the June 2012 issue of the Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, and what these findings mean for pet owners.
How RECOVER’s CPR Assessment Got Its Start
While Dr. Fletcher was working on a training program for his robo–dog patient simulator he found plenty of conflicting information on performing CPR on pets. He contacted Dr. Boller, who was also finding a lack of consistency in procedures, even among specialists in emergency and critical care.
Realizing that hundreds of published papers would need to be evaluated to develop a consistent protocol, they recruited colleagues from the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC), the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS), and the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia (ACVA) to help with the literature review; RECOVER was born.
Then, the enormous task of finding all the peer–reviewed papers on CPR, and evaluating them based on the quality of their data, began. Using the information gathered, the researchers produced guidelines for basic life support, advanced life support, monitoring and post-arrest care; taking into account the best available information from both human and animal data.