Too many people die from cardiac arrest in the U.S. despite breakthroughs in the understanding and treatment of the condition, according to a report from the Institute of Medicine.
The authors suggest revamping the national strategy to standardize surveillance, coordination, data collection, public education and the sharing of best practices pertaining to the condition.
The ability to consistently deliver timely interventions and high-quality care to cardiac arrest patients has been “less than impressive,” said Dr. Robert Graham, chair of the 19-member multidisciplinary IOM committee on the treatment of cardiac arrest, in a preface to the report. The disparate survival rates across the nation have been “equally unacceptable,” he said.
An estimated 600,000 people experience cardiac arrest each year in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds of the events occur outside of the hospital, but less than 6% of patients survive when the arrests begin in that setting, compared with 24% of inpatients. The total annual aggregate cost of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the U.S. was $33 billion according to a 2014 study.
While heart attacks result from problems with circulation, cardiac arrest is an electrical issue that occurs when the heart malfunctions and unexpectedly stops beating. Effective treatments for specific types of cardiac arrest are widely available and could reduce deaths and disability if more efficiently implemented.
The report emphasizes strategies in six areas. These include: the creation of a national cardiac arrest registry; enhancing the performance of emergency medical systems; improving systems of care; promoting research and innovation; more extensive education of the public on how to do CPR and use defibrillators; and creation of a national collaborative to identify common goals to improve survival.