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Researchers awarded Trial of the Year for medical study to investigate cardiac arrest treatment

The PARAMEDIC Trial TeamA clinical trial run by the University of Warwick, in partnership with the University of Surrey and four UK ambulance services, which examined the effectiveness of mechanical versus manual chest compression for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has been awarded Trial of the Year.

The Society for Clinical Trials has named the Warwick Medical School-led study Trial of the Year for 2014 and the research team received the award at the Society’s 36th Annual Meeting in America on 19 May.

The trial was conducted in partnership with West Midlands, Welsh, South Central and North East Ambulance Services.

The prestigious award is made based on several criteria including that the research improves the lot of humankind, provides the basis for a substantial, beneficial change in health care, reflects expertise in subject matter, excellence in methodology, and concern for study participants, overcomes obstacles in implementation, and the presentation of design, execution and results is a model of clarity and intellectual soundness.

In the first independently-funded, large-scale trial of resuscitation by ambulance services in the UK, researchers found no evidence to suggest patients who were treated with mechanical compressions had better survival rates than those treated with manual compressions.

Trial leader, Professor Gavin Perkins from Warwick Medical School said: “When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, it is vital that they receive chest compressions of sufficient depth and rate. Maintaining high quality chest compressions during out of hospital resuscitation is difficult as there may be issues with patient access or working on a patient in a moving vehicle. Mechanical compression devices have been developed to automate and potentially improve this resuscitation process.

“However, there is limited evidence showing that these devices are beneficial and that is why we set up this trial. We are delighted the trial has been recognised as the Clinical Trial of the Year. The award is testament to the outstanding commitment shown by our NHS Ambulance Service partners to improving patient care through research”.

The trial evaluated use of the LUCAS-2 device during resuscitation attempts by UK ambulance services. The study was conducted between 2010 and 2013 in four ambulance services in the UK. It enrolled 4,471 patients who had suffered out of hospital cardiac arrest. Ambulance service vehicles were randomly assigned (1:2) to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) using LUCAS-2 or manual chest compression in a cluster randomization, and patients received LUCAS-2 mechanical or manual chest compressions according to the first trial vehicle to arrive on scene.

The results did not show a survival advantage to the use of the LUCAS-2, and fewer patients in the LUCAS-2 group survived without neurological impairment than in the control group.

Professor Tom Quinn from the University of Surrey commented “I am thrilled that our team has won this very prestigious award. The findings from this study emphasise the importance of getting the simple things right. The key message here is that it is high quality manual CPR is the ingredient that saves lives”.

Notes to editors

A paper from the trial, ‘Mechanical versus manual chest compression for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a cluster randomised trial’, was published in The Lancet.

To speak to Professor Gavin Perkins, please contact Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Senior Press and Communications Manager, University of Warwick,, 02476 150868, 07824 540863.