Archive by Author | stevewiddows

Nonshockable Rhythms and CPR

The benefits of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) have been well recorded in Sudden Cardiac Arrest victims

When applied early, correctly and followed up with a defibrillator, chances of survival can increase to 75 percent or more.

What about non-shockable rhythms; will CPR still increase the chances of survival?

University of Washington professor, Dr. Peter Kudenchuk and his team from Seattle analyzed thousands of patients who suffered a cardiac arrest with non-shockable rhythms and found a strong correlation between high-quality chest compressions and survival rates for people in cardiac arrest, even if they do not response to defibrillator shocks. 

Types of Rhythms

Click for a larger view

heart Rhythms

Dr. Kudenchuk discovered patients had a 50 percent better chance of regaining spontaneous circulation, a 56 percent better chance of a favorable neurological outcome, and an 85 percent better chance of living one year. 

“Why the study is important is that a huge emphasis has been placed on treating patients with shockable arrhythmias. That’s why these public-access defibrillators and rapid shock methods have evolved and been promoted and rightly so, but shockable rhythms account for only a small proportion of cardiac arrests,” says Kudenchuk.

Non-shockable cardiac arrest, including asystole and so-called pulseless electrical activity, represent a large portion of sudden cardiac-arrest cases, up to 75 percent, but this is the first study to rigorously check whether CPR could improve survival in for people with non-shockable rhymes.

All of the patients in the study were determined to have a nonshockable arrhythmia after the responders tried to defibrillate their hearts. “These patients do very poorly, because the only real therapies we have to throw at them are CPR and drugs and trying to find something reversible that may have caused the rhythm,” Kudenchuk says.

All of the patients in this study were in Washington State from 2000 to 2010, so the study was able to compare outcomes of patients before and after the release of the 2005 American Heart Association CPR guidelines that encourage uninterrupted chest compressions. Kudenchuk was then able to compare historical methods to up-to-date methods focusing on uninterrupted chest compressions. 

Kudenchuk explained that the current CPR guidelines “provide a stronger emphasis on ongoing minimally interrupted CPR and to reduce the time that a patient is in cardiac arrest and the hands are not actively pumping the chest. In simply deploying those guidelines–there is nothing magical about it–you can almost double survival from a non-survivable disease, and that is nonshockable cardiac arrest.”

Technology, Entertainment and Design on its Way to Vancouver

Founded in 1984 as a non-profit geared toward bringing together people form the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design, TED is truly a unique experience devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. Learn more about TED here.


Last year the team here at Global was ecstatic that we were able to tap into the live stream for the 2012 TED event. For four days last February, staff were invited to tune in and watch TED talks in real time, a first time for all Global employees. As part of our TED Live membership, we joined the TED Books, giving us access to even more inspiring thoughts and ideas from authors specifically chosen around last year’s TED theme.

Here’s what some of our staff had to say about the live streaming event:

  • “I thought it was great! I got to see things I normally wouldn’t have been able to.”
  • “I had never heard about TED before. Now that I have seen it, I have been missing out!”
  • “TED was a really great experience. I enjoyed learning about new subjects.”
  • “My only gripe is that I wish the talks were longer!”

It’s no wonder then that we are excited to hear that the 30-year-old conference, which has called California home since its inception, is moving to Vancouver in 2014. Yes, you heard that right. It was announced in early February that the prestigious event will be calling Vancouver home in 2014-2015.

Why move?

TED 2014 Vancouver

Here’s what TED had to say:

We’ve had five wonderful years in Long Beach, but for the anniversary conference, we want to try a new space. And we found it in Vancouver, a city that’s itself an inspiration — cosmopolitan, energetic, innovative, yet with unrivaled natural beauty, surrounded by mountains and water. The recently completed convention center is a truly spectacular meeting space offering limitless possibilities in a beautiful, peaceful corner of the city. We’re not moving to accommodate more people — in fact we’re slightly reducing audience size. We just think we’ve found a venue that can do even more to inspire creative thinking and dynamic ideas.

“We looked at a lot of cities in the U.S, especially on the west coast. In Vancouver, we found a special combination of things we didn’t find anywhere else and it got us really excited. It is a combination of an amazing city which is reflective of the values people hold. There is a feeling of looking forward, a commitment to excellence, of innovation and sustainability. Just a bustling energy, which is thrilling,” says Chris Anderson, TED curator.

The Impact

Vancouver Convention Centre

The potential deal was kept so secret that not even Mayor Gregor Robertson was told about it until a week before the announcement, when the final details were worked out.

Robertson says he can’t think of a better fit for Vancouver’s emerging image as a global city of thinkers, and he wants to take ideas that come out of the conference and put them to use here.

“I’ve been on a quest to land a premier world event in Vancouver for several years,” he said. “Our interests stem from the huge global exposure of TED and Vancouver’s brand, which is something we’ve been cultivating for some time. This is a great boost, particularly around big ideas and turning them into action.”

Learn more about the move to Vancouver

An Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Saves Another Life

With the recent launch of the province-wide Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Program in BC, news of an AED save in Toronto couldn’t have come at a better time. Since 2006, the public defibrillator program in Ontario, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation has saved 48 lives.

Public Access Defibrillation

Now it is our turn here in BC. With the PAD program underway, we can expect the same impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, we will be to “save hundreds of lives”. Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided.

The team here at Global Medical Services is excited to play an ongoing role with the HSFBC and PAD program, we hope to see many lives saved.

Toronto AED Save

TORONTO, Feb. 13, 2013 /CNW/ – Once again, AEDs and CPR have proven their worth as a Toronto man is alive today thanks to the quick actions of bystanders. 

On Sunday, January 13, a 51-year-old Toronto-area resident Paul Poce was playing hockey at the Malvern Recreation Centre when he collapsed to the ice after suffering a cardiac arrest. His son Ben Poce, who also works as a paramedic for Peel Regional Paramedic Services, immediately rushed to his father’s side. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest, Poce called out to his teammates to dial 9-1-1, instructed his friend Shawn Nichols to start chest compressions, while he retrieved the on-site AED. 

Read the full story

CPRAbout the Heart and Stroke Foundation:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation (, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke, reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living and advocacy.

Global to supply British Columbia with 450 AEDs


Michael, Julie, Vern, Allan and Tom at the PAD Program Launch presentation

In 1997, a British Columbia mill suffered a heart-wrenching loss when one of its staff members collapsed and died of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA).    The only remedy for an SCA is the delivery of an electric shock that acts to reset the heart’s electrical rhythms – a shock deliverable by an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).   Unfortunately, that shock must come quickly.   For every minute that passes without shock delivery, a person’s chance of survival is reduced by 10%.   In 1997, only ambulance attendants and fire rescue personnel had access to AEDs, and on that day, neither could get to the mill in time with the life-saving AED.

This event, while tragic, led to the formation of Global Medical Services (Global), a BC-based company passionate about broader access to AEDs.  Founded by Dr. Allan Holmes, an emergency-trained physician, Global has worked in the intervening years to implement comprehensive AED programs for hundreds of workplaces across the province and throughout Canada.

And then came February 6th, 2013, a particularly special day in our company’s history.

Gathered alongside representatives of the Ministry of Health, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon (HSFBCY), and the British Columbia Ambulance Service (BCAS), our team helped bring forward the announcement that a province-wide Public Access Defibrillation Program initiative was launching.

Kicked off with a highly effective Public Service Announcement and an awareness campaign, the initiative, funded by the HSFBCY and the Ministry of Health, will see 450 AED units and associated training delivered to communities throughout BC.   The expected impact, as articulated by Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid, will be to “save hundreds of lives”.   Indeed, with increased access to AEDS, each of the 2000 SCA deaths reported annually in BC has the potential to be avoided.   This was exactly the case for Anna Shanh, an SCA survivor, who shared her survival story with those at the launch.  It was a stark reminder for us all that SCA doesn’t discriminate; even the young, fit, non-smoking and non-drinking among us are at risk.

In participating in the launch and seeing the efforts invested to bring it to life, we could not be more proud to be the PAD initiative’s exclusive AED provider.   We look forward to working with communities throughout the province as well as with the exceptional teams at both the HSFBCY and BCAS.    We share CEO Diego Marchese’s view that this has the potential to be one of the best programs in Canada, and we look forward to playing our role in ensuring that it is.

For more information and video, visit the BC Government newsroom:

Communicable Diseases – Tuberculosis

At Global Medical Services, many of our paramedics work in oil and gas camps in Northern British Columbia, as such, we encourage them to be prepared for whatever they may come across in these remote regions.

Throughout the year, we profile various diseases and afflictions to help further their understanding in the hopes they will be prepared should they come into contact with one of these diseases.

This week we are profiling a known transmissible disease that an individual may encounter in their career as a paramedic, nurse or other health care provider. It is our hope that this profile will allow you to quickly
diagnose common or rare diseases should you come across them.

Tuberculosis is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease. Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium, bacteria which are spread through the air like the common cold. 

Tuberculosis typically attacks the lungs, but can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections are asymptomatic and dormant, but about one in ten dormant infections eventually progresses to become an active disease which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of those so infected.

In the active stage, a person often shows symptoms of the disease. Active bacteria will usually infect the lungs or airways but may also affect several organs (lymph nodes, kidneys, etc).

Global tb cases


Weakened immune system – A healthy immune system can often successfully fight TB bacteria, but your body can’t mount an effective defense if your resistance is low. A number of diseases and medications can weaken your immune system, including: HIV/AIDS, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer treatment.

International connections – TB risk is higher for people who live in or travel to countries that have high rates of tuberculosis, such as: Sub-Saharan Africa, India, China and Mexico. 

Poverty and substance abuse – If you are on a low or fixed income, live in a remote area, have recently immigrated, or are homeless, you may lack access to the medical care needed to diagnose and treat TB. Long-term drug or alcohol use weakens your immune system and makes you more vulnerable to tuberculosis.


If you have active TB, keep your germs from spreading. It generally takes a few weeks of treatment with TB medications before you’re not contagious anymore. Follow these tips to help keep your friends and family from getting sick: Stay home, ventilate the room, cover your mouth and wear a mask.


For active TB, symptoms usually include swollen and sore lymph glands, weakness or feeling very tired, weight loss, lack of appetite, chills, fever, night sweats. For active TB in the lungs and airways (pulmonary TB), symptoms usually include a bad cough that lasts longer than three weeks, pain in the chest, coughing up blood or sputum (phlegm).

What is Heart Month?

Heart Month is the Heart and Stroke Foundations‘ key opportunity to reach millions of Canadians in February and alert them to the risks of heart disease and stroke. Today, heart disease and stroke take one life every 7 minutes and 90% of Canadians have at least one risk factor.

Here are the facts:

  • Every day, heart disease and stroke lead to nearly 1,000 hospital visits.
  • Heart disease and stroke rob Canadians of nearly 250,000 potential years of life.
  • Heart disease and stroke kills more women than men, a fact that many women may not realize.
  • Today, less than 10% of children meet recommended physical activity guidelines and less than half eat the recommended fruit and vegetables for optimum health.


“Heart Month was inspired by a fundraising initiative called “Heart Sunday.” The concept was adopted in British Columbia in the mid-1950s; in Ontario in 1958, and has since expanded across the country. Today Heart Month is a much broader campaign that mobilizes Canadians to rally together in raising awareness and funds that have an enormous impact on the lives of not just heart and stroke patients, but all Canadians. Through the generosity and compassion of volunteers, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has been able to fund critical life-giving research, education and advocacy programs that help save lives.”

In truth, Heart Month is integral in generating awareness for all heart diseases. Did you know Heart disease and stroke take 1 in 3 Canadians before their time and is the #1 killer of women – taking more women’s lives than all forms of cancer combined?

It is an uphill battle against heart disease, but at Global Medical Services, we believe this is a fight we can win, so help celebrate Heart Month with us and spread the word!

Learn More


PGA of BC Partners with Global

Press release from the PGA of BC:

The Professional Golfers’ Association of BC is pleased to establish a new business relationship with Global Medical Services (GMS). The PGA of BC and GMS will be working closely together to create programs and promote safety at golf facilities throughout the province. GMS, a new “Preferred Partner” of the Association, will be offering PGA of BC member facilities “preferred rates” on various products and services related to safety and cardiac care. More details at  benefits section.

“Global Medical Services is very pleased to partner with the PGA of BC and its members. We are committed to safety and in particular safety on the golf course and throughout golf course clubhouses. 45,000 Canadians die each year from sudden cardiac arrest, and we at Global Medical Services are working very hard to change that”, says Thomas Puddicombe, Business Operations Director.

Golf cardiac arrest

“We are thrilled about this new partnership with Global Medical Services. We feel that all PGA of BC facilities should be properly prepared with the most up to date safety equipment of their members and guests on a day to day basis. The PGA of BC will promote GMS and encourage member facilities to take advantage of Global Medical Services’ special offers and promotions throughout the year” says Donald Miyazaki, Executive Director of the PGA of BC.

About the PGA of British Columbia
The Professional Golfers’ Association of British Columbia is an association comprised of more than 650 golf professionals who work at and operate golf courses, driving ranges and other facilities across the province.  Their mandate is to promote and advance the game of golf, serving the needs of both its membership and the golf public through professional and junior golf development programs and high-calibre competitive events. The Zone Office is located in Richmond, BC.  For more information, visit


About Global Medical Services
Global was founded in 1998 and became an instant pioneer in the implementation of AEDs in British Columbian workplaces.  Through our initial experiences in deploying AEDs, we have expanded into medical education and consulting, becoming one of Canada’s leading companies in the area of health and emergency preparedness.

AEDs, are a core passion for us. Our goal is to see as many AEDs placed in public and private settings as possible in an effort to save more lives.  Global has completed over 1,700 AED installations and our client base is drawn from of a cross-section of industries.

global medical services

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