-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, July 1 (HealthDay News) -- More than 200,000 people are
treated for cardiac arrest in U.S. hospitals every year, according
to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School
of Medicine warned that rate may be on the rise.
The study, reported online June 24 in
Critical Care Medicine, found that 21 percent of patients who suffer in-hospital cardiac arrest survive. That's much better than the less than 10 percent who typically survive cardiac arrest in other settings.
Yet the study's authors said more could be done to improve
survival, including preventing cardiac arrest through more
effective patient monitoring; administering CPR and defibrillation
to restart the heart more quickly; and better adherence to
In cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and the circulation
of blood and oxygen to the brain and vital organs ceases. Death
typically occurs within moments without chest compressions to get
the blood circulating again and defibrillation, which delivers
electrical shocks that can essentially jump-start the heart
Cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, although a
heart attack -- often caused by a blockage in an artery that
interferes with blood flow to the heart -- can lead to cardiac
"Our study proves that cardiac arrest represents a tremendous problem for hospitals in the United States," said the study's lead author, Dr. Raina M. Merchant, an assistant professor of emergency medicine, in a university news release.
"Until now, we could only guess about how many patients were suffering these events," Merchant added. "These numbers finally provide us with a roadmap for improving allocation of resources to care for these critically ill patients and further our study of ways to identify patients who are at risk of cardiac arrest in the hospital and improve survival."
The U.S. National Institutes of Health provides more information
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