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Penn study: Chances of surviving cardiac arrest depend on where patients are treated
Date:1/9/2009

(PHILADELPHIA) Efforts to fight the toll of cardiac arrest have typically focused on pre-hospital factors -- bystander CPR education and improvement, public defibrillation programs, and quicker EMS response. But new research from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine reveals that the hospital where patients are cared for after being resuscitated plays a key role in their chances of survival following these incidents, which takes the lives of more than 300,000 Americans each year.

Patients in large, urban, and teaching hospitals are more likely to survive compared to those in small, often rural, non-academic hospitals, according to a study published recently in the journal Intensive Care Medicine. A second study, published in Resuscitation, suggests that patients who are cared for in the highest volume intensive care units after cardiac arrest are also most apt to survive. The findings points to a need to explore the development of specialized, regional post-cardiac arrest care centers modeled after those that treat serious trauma patients, says lead author Brendan Carr, MD, an assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology, and associate director of the Division of Emergency Care Policy & Research.

Carr's findings also underscore the importance of the recent move by New York City to require ambulances to take cardiac arrest patients to hospitals that provide therapeutic hypothermia -- the so-called "cooling" therapy that protects against damage to the brain and other organs in the crucial hours after the heart is restored to its normal rhythm -- even if those facilities are further away.

"We are describing the variability that exists in cardiac arrest outcomes not at the level of the patient but at the level of the hospital. Hospitals with more resources and hospitals with higher volumes have better outcomes," Carr says. "There are two possible implications: Either we need to get everyone up
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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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