Getting More Heart Beats Back

Cardiac arrests in hospital patients have improved outcomes over the past decade

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Sometimes, hospital patients’ hearts stop beating. Standardizing best practices and quality control methods in hospitals have improved patients' chances at life. A recent study’s findings show improved outcomes have been steadily rising.

The Get with the Guidelines-Resuscitation is a national program run by the American Heart Association to improve and make consistent cardiac practices in hospitals.

In 2000, 14 percent of patients who experienced cardiac arrest during a hospital stay lived to be discharged, by 2009, the numbers bumped up to 22 percent.

"Follow doctor’s orders in the hospital."

Saket Girotra, MD, associate in internal medicine at the University of Iowa, led the team of researchers to investigate in-hospital cardiac arrests. For the study, 374 hospitals from the 2000-2009 Get with the Guidelines-Resuscitation registry were evaluated for their in-hospital cardiac arrest outcomes. A total of 84,625 patients who hearts had stopped beating during a hospital stay were included for analysis.

Neurologic disability was present in 33 percent of patients in 2000, and lowered to 28 percent in 2009. Researchers credit improved success rates to better techniques for reviving cardiac arrest patients and better patient-care after the arrest until the patients were discharged.

Dr. Girotra said, “If we apply our study’s findings to all patients with a cardiac arrest in the US (approximately 200,000 people every year), we estimate that an additional 17,200 patients survived in 2009 who would have died in 2000.”

“And more than 13,000 cases of significant neurological disability were avoided. So we are not only seeing an improvement in quality of life, but also quality of life among survivors at the time of discharge.”

This study was published in November in The New England Journal of Medicine. The American Heart Association funded the Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation.

No conflicts of interest were reported.

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Review Date: 
November 18, 2012
Last Updated:
November 26, 2012