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Shockable cardiac arrests are more common in public than home
Date:1/26/2011

Cardiac arrests that can be treated by electric stimulation, also known as shockable arrests, were found at a higher frequency in public settings than in the home, according to a National Institutes of Health-funded study appearing in the Jan. 27 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study compared home and public cardiac arrests under various scenarios. For example, the study considered whether bystanders or emergency medical services (EMS) personnel witnessed the cardiac arrest, and whether the person experiencing the arrest received treatment with an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

In every scenario, a higher percentage of public cardiac arrests were classified as ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF), the types of abnormal heart rhythms that can be treated by electric shock.

More than one-third of the people who had a cardiac arrest in public and were treated with an AED survived. This is a significant improvement over the roughly 8 percent national average of cardiac arrest survival. In comparison, the overall survival for home-occurring cardiac arrests treated with an AED was 12 percent.

"To improve the overall disappointing outcome for persons experiencing cardiac arrest, we must know the best immediate treatment," said Susan Shurin, M.D., acting director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the NIH and the major funding agency of this study. "This study provides rich data which indicate the need for further evidence to guide clinical practice and public policy."

The study is based on data from the world's largest data registry of pre-hospital cardiac arrest and life-threatening trauma, which is part of the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC). The researchers collected cardiac arrest data for over 14,000 people between Dec. 2005 and April 2007. The data spanned over 200 EMS agencies and their receiving hospitals across th
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Contact: NHLBI Communications Office
NHLBI_news@nhlbi.nih.gov
301-496-4236
NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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