When a person goes into cardiac arrest, where it occurs can be the difference between life and death.
An Institute of Medicine (IOM) report found that roughly two-thirds of the nearly 600,000 cardiac arrest cases in the United States each year occur outside of a hospital setting, and less than 6 percent of individuals survive. Among the approximately 200,000 cardiac arrests in hospitals each year, 24 percent of patients survived.
Dianne Atkins, MD (’83 F), professor of pediatrics and cardiology in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, served on the IOM committee recommending strategies and actions to improve survival and quality of life following cardiac arrest. The recommendations include:
• A national registry of cardiac arrest to monitor performance, identify problems, and track progress.
• Training so the public can recognize cardiac arrest, contact emergency responders, administer CPR, and use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
• EMS systems that emphasize dispatcher-assisted CPR and high-performance CPR.
• Strategies to improve systems of care within hospital settings, including national accreditation standards related to cardiac arrest for hospitals and health care systems.
• Expanded research in cardiac arrest resuscitation and promotion of innovative technologies and treatments.