PALM SPRINGS, Calif — The Institute of Critical Care Medicine (ICCM), based in Palm Springs, announced today that its recent research has yielded an important advance for predicting the success or failure of electrical shocks delivered by defibrillators during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

There previously has been no practical and reliable real-time indicator for optimal timing of electrical shocks administered during CPR. Multiple shocks can injure the heart and cause resuscitation failure.

It is anticipated that these ICCM discoveries will significantly improve the current disappointing outcomes of CPR and especially the great life-saving impact of defibrillators.

The ICCM method is based on electrocardiographic (EKG) measurements together with the "artificial intelligence" of the computer chip in existing "smart" defibrillators. The electrocardiogram serves to precisely predict the likelihood that an electrical shock is successful. The number of shocks and therefore the chance of heart damage are dramatically reduced.

Dr. Max Harry Weil, ICCM president and distinguished university professor, said, "Our research indicates that EKG predictors built into the automated external defibrillator will soon guide both the defibrillators used by lay persons and also the professional providers, including emergency physicians, nurses and paramedics using conventional defibrillators to avoid repetitive and ineffective shocks that damage the heart."

The research team at ICCM is headed by Dr. Weil and Dr. Wanchun Tang, professor and ICCM vice president for Research, and includes Professor Jose Bisera, director of Biomedical Engineering and ICCM vice president for Biomedical Engineering. The three researchers are applicants for a U.S. patent on "Electrocardiographic predictor of the success of cardiac defibrillation."

Results of the study were recently published in "Critical Care Medicine." The research was supported in part by grants from the Mary Pickford Foundation of Beverly Hills and the Laerdal Foundation of Stavanger, Norway.

ICCM, established in 1959, developed the first general intensive care unit in the world at the University of Southern California. It is a prize-winning, world-renowned organization known for its pioneering research in life-saving medical care and technology, especially in the fields of circulatory shock and CPR. The Institute is supported by grants and philanthropic donations from foundations, individuals and government.