University of Washington to Lead U.S. Expansion of Medtronic’s HeartRescue Project

The Newly Formed U.S. HeartRescue Consortium Will Bring Proven Resuscitation Practices to More States to Improve Sudden Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates
Dec 8, 2015 11:10 AM ET
Press Release

DUBLIN, December 8, 2015 /3BL Media/ – Medtronic (NYSE: MDT) today announced that the University of Washington and King County (Seattle) Emergency Medical Services will lead the U.S. expansion of the HeartRescue Project, a successful Medtronic Philanthropy partnership launched in five states in 2010 that brought together some of the nation’s leading resuscitation experts to improve survival rates for Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).

The newly formed U.S. HeartRescue Consortium expects to include 17 new states by 2019. Maryland, Utah and Michigan have already joined. Work will continue in original partner states Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Washington, as well as in communities served by American Medical Response. Partner states hope to collectively improve survival rates in new states by 25 percent in four years.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a significant health issue in the United States, killing more than 350,000 people a year. Most people die from SCA within minutes because care arrives too late. The estimated eight-percent SCA survival rate has not changed significantly in more than 30 years. 

The Consortium will first focus on improving SCA measurement within partner states. Currently, there is no national mandate to report outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, leaving incidence and survival rates a guess for many states.

Partner states will also lead response and resuscitation training for citizen bystanders, first responders, emergency medical services and hospital emergency room staff. 

“In no other health condition does life and death hang in such a time-pressured balance, relying on a diverse set of rescuers who must immediately work together,” says Dr. Thomas Rea, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Washington and medical director for King County Medic One who will now lead the U.S. HeartRescue Consortium. “For too long, we thought nothing could be done. But the HeartRescue Project proved that we can make a difference. The time is now to take these results to more places.”

Rea says the Consortium will use proven strategies from the HeartResue Project to help them reach their goals.

For example, in Arizona all 911 emergency operators were trained to provide CPR instructions to callers. This low-cost idea resulted in bystander CPR rates improving from 37 percent in 2010 to 52 percent in 2013, which helped increased overall survival rates from 8 percent to 11 percent over the same time period.

And in Chicago, there has been a significant increase in survival just two years after training 4,000 firefighters/EMT’s and paramedics and establishing a coordinated network of 24 heart attack/cardiac arrest receiving centers throughout Chicago. 

“The HeartRescue Project is a tremendous success, and clearly demonstrates that when we all work together, we can definitively improve health,” says Dr. Jacob Gayle, president of Medtronic Philanthropy. “We know that the U.S. HeartRescue Consortium will bring that spirit and expertise to more places, increasing the odds that even more people survive a cardiac event and go on to lead healthy, happy, productive lives.”

Medtronic Philanthropy will support the U.S. HeartRescue Consortium with $2 million granted over four years. As the program expands, the Consortium will add other financial supporters and partners.

About Medtronic and Medtronic Philanthropy

Medtronic plc (, headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, is among the world’s largest medical technology, services and solutions companies – alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for millions of people around the world. Medtronic employs more than 85,000 people worldwide, serving physicians, hospitals and patients in approximately 160 countries. The company is focused on collaborating with stakeholders around the world to take healthcare Further, Together. Medtronic Philanthropy focuses on expanding access to quality chronic disease care among underserved populations worldwide, in addition to supporting health initiatives in communities where Medtronic employees live and give.