Although the body of knowledge related to Cardiac Surgery Unit Advanced Life Support (CSU-ALS) guideline has grown over the last 10 years, there is no existing literature examining the impact of this training on patient mortality outcomes.
This article describes one institution's experience related to patient mortality outcomes following a rigorous training program following the CSU-ALS guideline. Because of the small numbers associated with cardiac arrests after cardiac surgery (0.7%-8%), statistical significance was not a goal.
A quasi-experimental design was used to compare mortality outcomes before and after CSU-ALS training. One hundred percent of the staff were trained in the initial year, and 85% to 90% of the staff maintained competency in the following years. The author used 10 years of retrospective data to compare mortality rates 4 years before and 6 years after the intervention.
The retrospective data showed a decrease in the percentage of failure-to-rescue rate in the intervention group (control 16% vs intervention 2%). Fisher exact testing implies that the observed frequencies were not significantly different from the expected frequencies (P = .072 and P = .135). Because of the small sample size, statistical significance could not be established.
This institution experienced an extremely positive track record in outcomes despite its inability to prove a statistically significant correlation to the CSU-ALS training. The overall observed and self-reported confidence level of the staff during the study period was outside the project scope but deserves mention and further research.