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

e United States and Canada.

Among the key findings were that 79 percent of documented cardiac arrests in high-traffic public places where AEDs were available and administered, such as airports or office buildings, were VT or VF. An AED can automatically diagnose an arrhythmia and shock an arrest victim if necessary. In contrast, only 36 percent of home cardiac arrests in which an AED was applied were VT/VF.

Previous studies have found that home-based cardiac arrests have far lower survival rates than arrests that occur in public locations. This study found that only a third of arrests which occurred in homes were witnessed, while over half of those in public locations had witnesses who could immediately call 911 and provide assistance.

The importance of having someone who can provide or call for help does not exclude the possibility that the types of cardiac arrests occurring in home may differ from those occurring in public settings, or that those occurring in public may be more likely to be effectively treated with electrical stimulation.

The study noted that this significant contrast in prevalence could be due to the fact that individuals who spend more time in public places typically are younger, more active, and have fewer chronic diseases, thus predisposing them to a different class of arrest.

However, according to Dr. Shurin, more work is needed to know whether the differences in rates of rhythms and in outcome are due to underlying differences in severity of disease or in how rapidly responders provide effective therapy.

"These survival results affirm the value of putting AEDs in public locales," said Myron Weisfeldt, M.D., a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and lead author of the study. "Even though the overall frequency of VT/VF arrests has declined over the past few decades, they are still a fairly common occurrence in public settings."

George Sopko, M.D., ROC pro
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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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