Shocking, Arresting News

Shockable cardiac arrests more common in public than in home: study

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

(RxWiki News) Shockable arrests (cardiac arrest treated by electric stimulation) are more prevalent in public settings than in the home.

A National Institute of Health study compared home and public cardiac arrest rates using various criteria, such as whether bystanders or emergency medical services (EMS) personnel witnessed the event or whether the afflicted individual was treated with an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

A higher percentage of cardiac arrests were classified either as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF), both of which can be effectively treated with AED. More than 30 percent of patients treated with an AED device in public survived compared to only 12 percent of patients treated with AED at home.

The results of both are greater than the roughly eight percent national average of cardiac arrest survival.

Susan Shurin, M.D., acting director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) said the study provides clinical data that "indicate the need for further evidence to guide clinical practice and public policy."

Incidences of VT/VF arrests have declined over the years, but are still a fairly common occurrence in public settings, according to Myron Weisfeldt, M.D., a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and lead author of the study, who added the study results indicate a need for AEDs in public and at home.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and medical defibrillators (such as AEDs)  are the only other means of reviving someone who has experienced cardiac arrest, according to the American Heart Association.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 28, 2011
Last Updated:
January 31, 2011