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Cardiac Arrest Survival Rates Vary Across U.S.

A study published in the Sept. 23 issue of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that there is a significant difference in the survival rates of patients after cardiac arrest, depending on the city in which the cardiac arrest occurs.

More Than 20,000 Cases Examined

Cardiac arrest is the cessation of cardiac mechanical activity. Every year in the U.S. more than 150,000 people experience cardiac arrest. The JAMA study looked at the data of 20,520 cases from May 2006 to April 2007 in ten cities (eight in the U.S. and two in Canada) with a combined population of 21.4 million. 

From Three to Sixteen Percent Survival Rate

Only 4.6 percent of the 20, 520 patients lived long enough to be discharged from a hospital. Among the 58 percent of the patients who received emergency treatment, the survival rate ranged from 3 percent to 16.3 percent — a surprising fivefold difference. 

"The best way to improve survival is to standardize the standard of care for patients out of the hospital," said the author of the study, Dr. Comilla Sasson of the University of Michigan. "If we could focus resources on patients who have the best chance of survival, we would be able to affect the outcome." 

Causes of Cardiac Arrest

There are several known conditions that can cause cardiac arrest, including:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Electrocution
  • Drowning
  • Choking

In other cases, the cause of the cardiac arrest is not known. An individual suffering from cardiac arrest (which can be thought of as an electrical problem in the heart) is less likely to die if he or she receives CPR and defibrillation shock.

(Source: U.S. News & World Report)

If you feel that you or your loved one received substandard treatment after an incident of cardiac arrest, contact us today to speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney.


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