High-performance CPR increases survival rate after cardiac arrest, stats show

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KAILUA-KONA — Jerome Kanuha was paddling in a canoe race in Hilo when he went into cardiac arrest.


KAILUA-KONA — Jerome Kanuha was paddling in a canoe race in Hilo when he went into cardiac arrest.

The only thing the 64-year-old man remembers from that 2014 event was getting to town and jumping out of the car.

“When I got up, it was four or five days later,” Kanuha said. “I was at Queen’s Hospital on Oahu.”

The Kailua-Kona man recounted what happened that day, Wednesday, as he sat looking out at the ocean on his property by Banyans on Alii Drive. He said he was told a man in seat five on his canoe did compressions on him.

When they got back to the beach, another individual happened to have a defibrillator in his car.

“Without the defibrillator and the people helping on the beach, I don’t think I’d be here,” Kanuha said.

The chest compressions and use of defibrillators, or AEDs, is part of Hawaii Fire Department’s high-performance CPR initiative.

In 2014, Capt. Chris Honda took the lead on improving CPR survival rates by incorporating the high-performance CPR. At the time, survival rate was 4 percent.

Honda said he looked at the data and one of his projects was to see how the fire department could improve those numbers for families, friends and visitors.

As the department looked at the gap in survival rates, EMS Battalion Chief Lance Uchida said, they identified a lack of CPR knowledge in the community and geography in response time.

Honda went to Seattle and trained on the high-performance CPR. The big thing was community education and more defibrillators in the community.

Honda said the department has had great success with high-performance CPR. It’s changing the way crews do CPR, which is chest compressions and using AEDs.

In 2016, the survival rate increased to 12.8 percent.There are 65 AEDs deployed throughout the community.

Since the fire department started the program, 9,000 people in the community have been trained on chest compressions and use of a defibrillator.


Starting May 8, Hawaii will be host to the Resuscitation Conference for the first time, which will take place in Hilo. Honda said the conference is meant to educate health providers and hospitals about the program.

Administrators from the state Department of Health will also be in attendance. Honda added there have been requests for attendance from out of state.

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