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Heartbeat: Cardiac Arrest Survival Rate Improving After Arriving at Hospital

A new circulation study shows that the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest after arriving at the hospital are improving.
A new circulation study shows that the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest after arriving at the hospital are improving.

The study shows survival rates among Americans hospitalized for cardiac arrest have improved over the last decade.
   
Researchers analyzed 1.2 million cases of cardiac arrest between 2001 and 2009 and found that the mortality rate declined from 70 percent to 58 percent.
   
They suspect that changes in CPR guidelines and how hospitals treat cardiac arrest upon arrival both contributed to the increased survival rates.

"More people opt to offer CPR as it doesn't involve as much mouth-to-mouth breathing and hands-only chest compressions. And, there's much more access to automatic defibrillators and people are getting defibrillation much faster than before," says cardiologist Aravind Rao. "There has been a great push by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology for quicker access to PCI, so people who reach the hospital get angioplasty within 90 minutes if they are having acute cardiac arrest."

Researchers also suspect that a new treatment called therapeutic hypothermia may also be making an impact.
   
The procedure involves administering cold intravenous saline and ice packs to chill the patient's body, therefore protecting the brain.
   
These findings, though, only take into account those patients who made it to the hospital.
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