(RxWiki News) Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death but that doesn't mean all cases are fatal. However, patients with certain types of cardiac arrest may actually have higher mortality rates
Cardiac arrest patients with a high risk of death show factors such as a longer duration of resuscitation, advanced age or exhibit a heart rhythm on an electrocardiogram but no pulse. The study examined only cardiac arrest in intensive care unit patients.
"Seek cardiac care in hospitals with specialized heart units."
Dr. Demetrios Kutsogiannis,a study co-author from the University of Alberta, said that while overall survival among ICU patients has greatly improved, survival among those experiencing cardiac arrest in ICU, particularly due to the high risk factors identified, remains comparatively poor.
Researchers reviewed data from January 2000 through April 2005 from four Canadian hospitals with coronary care units and general ICUs. They reviewed survival rates at one year and five years, and also short-term survival rates.
The study included 517 patients. About 62 percent were male with a mean age of 67. Only 27 percent survived through hospital discharge with 24 percent alive one year later and 16 percent alive in five years. Investigators found that general ICU patients were more likely to die in ICU compared with those in coronary care or cardiac surgical ICUs.
Researchers also found that some patients such as those with myocardial infarction, a type of heart attack, had a strong potential for survival with aggressive treatment during and after resuscitation.
They concluded that customizing evaluation and treatment of cardiac arrests to better understand the underlying cause and subsequent outcome could help improve patient survival rates.
The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.