A breakthrough treatment protocol employs three basic resuscitative principles to help save people who suffer severe traumatic brain injuries. 

The study involved EMS care for more than 21,000 people who sustained such injuries in incidents such as falls and motor vehicle crashes. 

About the study

EPIC stands for Excellence in Prehospital Injury Care project. The EPIC study represents a simple but innovative treatment protocol developed through a collaboration between the University of Arizona and the Arizona Department of Health Services with the participation of over 130 fire departments and EMS agencies across the state. Emergency medical personnel use the life-saving EPIC approach to treat TBI victims within the small window of time that is available before their brain cells begin to die. 

How the EPIC approach works

Treatment focuses on three simple interventions: administering high-flow oxygen, giving intravenous fluids to the patient and avoiding hyperventilation. To begin, first responders use a breathing bag with an attached light. When the light flashes at the appropriate intervals it is the cue for attending personnel to quickly put high-flow oxygen in place. The critical care that begins at the site of the injury continues at the hospital. 

Improved outcome

Traumatic brain injuries can be mild, as in a concussion, or severe requiring long-term rehabilitation, but all forms require prompt medical attention. The EPIC program is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Results confirm the importance of prehospital intervention and represent the first major victory in the improvement of TBI recovery and survival rates in more than 40 years.