LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — This month, Baptist Health in Little Rock became the first U.S. hospital to adopt a new CPR method – a change the hospital is confident will save lives.

Every year, more than 600,000 cases of sudden cardiac arrest are reported in the United States. Only 10.8% of people survive neurologically intact when cardiac arrest happens outside the hospital and 24% when it's inside the hospital.

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“This is really exciting technology,” Dr. Wendell Pahls, the hospital’s Director of Emergency Services, said. “We are introducing kind of a bundled concept that in conjunction with our local ambulance provider, we hope to see have dramatic improvements in cardiopulmonary and neurological resuscitation.

The "Heads Up CPR" method utilizes a chest compression system and new EleGARD patient positioning system to automatically lift the patient’s head, heart, and thorax in a multi-level elevation, in a timed sequence.

“We are able to improve the venous return to the heart and improve cardio output; therefore, get more blood to the heart, more blood the brain and improve resuscitation,” Pahls said.

Pahls says Baptist Health has seen success with several patients in the first month that "Heads Up CPR" was introduced. Based on those stats and other research, he believes Baptist is the first hospital to roll this out, but won't be the last.

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“Just taking what we know and bundling it together and making it into a meaningful team approach is showing some really great outcomes,” he said.