WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that survival after in-hospital cardiac arrest improved substantially from 2000 to 2009 in U.S. medical centers, probably because established guidelines were followed.
On average, people having a cardiac arrest -- when the heart stops beating -- in a hospital have about a 22 percent chance of surviving at least long enough to go home. Ten years ago, they had less than a 14 percent chance of surviving until discharge, the researchers noted.
Also, the rate of neurologic disability among survivors, including motor weakness or difficulty talking, has decreased. Such problems are often associated with insufficient oxygen reaching the brain during the cardiac arrest and resuscitation efforts.
"We found that survival improved among adult hospital patients for two reasons: People are doing a better job of resuscitation, and they're also getting better at providing care for the patient after resuscitation," said Dr. Saket Girotra, of the division of cardiovascular disease at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, in Iowa City.
Whether or not people will survive cardiac arrest -- when their heart stops beating -- depends on a wide variety of factors. Some are related to the individual, such as their age and condition. Other issues are more hospital-related, including: How soon was the patient found? Who arrived at the scene and how soon was cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) started? Was it a weekend? And, for survivors, did interrupted oxygen to the brain cause neurological problems, such as motor weakness or difficulty talking?
The American Heart Association, which funded the study, has developed guidelines for hospitals in an effort to improve the quality of care associated with in-hospital cardiac arrest. Called "Get with the Guidelines - Resuscitation," they offer clear benchmarks to use in t
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