LOS ANGELES (Sept. 24, 2013) A new study of patients who died of sudden cardiac arrest, a usually fatal condition that causes the heart to stop beating, shows the majority who qualified to receive potentially lifesaving treatment did not receive it.
Researchers led by Sumeet Chugh, MD, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, examined medical records of 2,093 patients who died of sudden cardiac arrest and found that only 488 patients, or about 20 percent, were medically evaluated to see if they met the criteria to receive an implantable cardiac defibrillator, which can shock a stopped heart into beating. Of those 488 patients, 92 were eligible to receive this treatment. However, further analysis showed that just 12 patients of those who were eligible received a defibrillator.
"That tells us that even people who meet the guidelines, for some reason, are not getting this therapy," said Chugh, the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology. "The data show that most people aren't screened for sudden cardiac arrest, but even when they are eligible, they still are not getting proper treatment."
The analysis of data from the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study is published online by Circulation, the medical journal of the American Heart Association, and is scheduled to appear in the printed edition of the publication dated Oct.15, 2013.
"The purpose of guidelines is to deploy treatments in the right people," Chugh said. "It's not a question of more defibrillators or fewer, but a question of providing defibrillators to the patients who need it the most."
Guidelines are standards of treatment established by a consensus of medical experts. Additionally, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services establish criteria for which patients qualify for certain interventions, such as defibrillator implantation.
Currently, the guidelines call for patients to receive de
|Contact: Sally Stewart|
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center