The Next Era of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation is Here Thanks to TandemLife

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Innovative physicians and medical device companies work to add an ‘e’ to CPR

Unfortunately, even the best CPR may not be enough to provide a positive outcome.

One of the most popular shows on television, NBC’s This is Us, ended it’s midseason with a cliff hanger that left the beloved character Toby being shocked back to life after suffering cardiac arrest on Christmas Eve. Viewers were relieved to find that Toby had survived and was quickly back to his old self, ready to marry his best girl. In reality only 10% of out-of-Hospital cardiac arrest patients survive, physicians and medical device companies are working towards happy endings for real life patients by moving Extracorporeal Life Support into Emergency Departments.

More than 350,000 people suffered out-of-Hospital cardiac arrest in 2016 and approximately 9 out of 10 of these people didn’t make it¹. On average more than 300,000 victims die following sudden cardiac arrest each year, this roughly equivalent to the number of people who die from Alzheimer's’ disease, assault with firearms, breast cancer, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, diabetes, HIV, house fires, motor vehicle accidents, prostate cancer and suicides combined². This statistic has remained unchanged for many years, but why?

CPR is about oxygenation, getting enough oxygen to the body’s vital organs in order to sustain life. Unfortunately, even the best CPR may not be enough to provide a positive outcome. Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS), a form of temporary life support designed to sustain cardiac and respiratory function. ECLS has been typically reserved for the operating room and ICU due to the complexity and specialty training required to get patients on support. In 2016 only thirty-six of more than five thousand emergency rooms reported the use of eCPR in there sites. However, physicians and industry are working to make eCPR more widely available through education and new product development.

On the education side, three doctors out of San Diego, CA, have started an organization devoted to educating fellow physicians resuscitative ECLS5. The ED ECMO (Resusciatationist-Initiated Extra-Corporeal Life Support and Enhanced CPR) organization offers everything from blogs and podcasts to the semiannual Reanimate Conference6 to train more of their peers to initiate this life-saving procedure in their own departments. "ECLS, says Dr. Zack Shinar, EDECMO co-founder and director of Reanimate Conference, is the next step in shattering the nihilistic paradigm surrounding cardiac arrest patients.  We are not only applying these advanced technologies to our patients but we are training doctors to adopt them in their own hospital.  A world where dying patients are rapidly stabilized via mechanical devices is not far away.”

On the new product development side, a small medical device company, TandemLife, out of Pittsburgh, PA has developed a new product designed to take the complexity out of initiating ECLS. “Our company’s mission is to simplify life support,” said John Marous, President and CEO of CardiacAssist. “We have worked with experts in the field to understand how to reduce the complexity of cardiopulmonary bypass technology so that more patients could receive this potentially life-saving device. The development of the TandemLife product line is a direct result of those efforts. Our new TandemLife kit is uniquely packaged to enable quick and simple system set-up, enabling implementation in a variety of environments.”

With groups such as ED ECMO and companies such as TandemLife workings towards making eCPR more accessible the next era of cardiopulmonary resuscitation may lead to a more patients walking out of the hospital and into their loved ones arms.

For more information on the ED ECMO organization visit
For more information on TandemLife visit

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Donna Nuriel
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