What is CALS?
"On the 15th of September 2007, a 67 year old lady underwent an elective aortic valve replacement at the James Cook University Hospital. Her operation was uneventful and she was returned to the ICU in a stable condition. The surgeons went back to theatre to proceed with their next case. One hour later she suddenly arrested. This is not unique as 1% of patients following cardiac surgery arrest, but what happened in this case was unique. A team of trained cardiac intensive care nurses without a surgeon proceeded to reopen the chest in a sterile fashion. The surgeons arrived and took over once the chest was open but remarkably she left the hospital 12 days later neurologically perfect. We feel that this excellent outcome was attained at least in part due to the rapid action taken by our staff members, putting into action the protocols that they had practised for the previous 2 years.
We have been training cardiac surgical unit clinicians since 2004 in all aspects of emergency cardiothoracic care, including a comprehensive protocol for the management of arrests after cardiac surgery. We also teach protocols for the most common ward emergencies such as hypotension, respiratory emergencies, arrhythmia and pacing emergencies.
We are particularly proud of the new EACTS approved protocol for the management of patients who arrest after cardiac surgery. We hope you find this manual useful but more importantly we hope that you take this out to your own unit and practise these protocols regularly."