200,000 Cardiac Arrest Patients Treated Each Year

Cardiac arrest patients treated each year may be increasing

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Every year tens of thousands of patients seek treatment for cardiac arrest at U.S. hospitals. That number may also be climbing. A study indicates that many of those cases may be preventable.

A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine showed that 200,000 cardiac arrest patients are treated annually in U.S. hospitals. The large number of heart patients being treated each year suggests many of them may be preventable with better patient monitoring and quicker response time for administering CPR, and defibrillation.

It is known that cardiac arrest is a major contributor to hospital deaths, but no uniform reporting requirements exist, leaving it difficult to study trends in cardiac arrest death and practices in resuscitation care.

"Talk to your cardiologist about your risk for cardiac arrest."

Lead author Dr. Raina M. Merchant, M.D., M.S., an assistant professor of emergency medicine, used several approaches including the American Heart Association's Get With the Guidelines data and a voluntary registry of hospital resuscitation events to estimate the total number of treated cardiac arrests in U.S. hospitals each year.

Some of the deaths were attributed to terminally ill patients, but authors suggested that many of the cardiac arrest deaths would be preventable with improved adherence to best practices in resuscitation guidelines, better patient monitoring and faster resuscitation responses.

The study revealed that patients who suffer in-hospital cardiac arrests are more than twice as likely to survive than those who arrest in public settings. Of those who have a cardiac arrest in a hospital setting, 21 percent survive to go home, as opposed to less than 10 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients.

Both areas suggested opportunities to improve and standardize care. Dr. Merchant said the numbers provide a guide for improving allocation of resources to care for these critically ill patients and continue studies to identify patients who are at risk of cardiac arrest in order to improve survival.

The findings were published in Critical Care Medicine.

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Review Date: 
June 24, 2011
Last Updated:
June 27, 2011