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July 21, 2015

Strategies to Improve Survival From Cardiac Arrest: A Report From the Institute of Medicine

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  • 3George Washington University, Washington, DC
JAMA. 2015;314(3):223-224. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8454

Maximizing survival and minimizing disability are fundamental goals of patient care, but a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report released this month, “Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act,” suggests that the United States is falling short in efforts to improve outcomes from cardiac arrest during the next decade.1

It is estimated that approximately 600 000 people each year in the United States experience a cardiac arrest,2 and survival rates for arrests that occur in community settings are less than 6%.2 Survival rates for in-hospital cardiac arrests are higher but remain low at 24%.3 Cardiac arrest predominantly affects older persons but can also occur among people of all ages, and significant disparities in incidence and survival rates exist for minority and disadvantaged populations.4 Survival rates vary between communities and hospitals, with one study finding survival rates for cardiac arrests from ventricular fibrillation ranging from 7.7% to 39.9% across 10 North American sites.5 Yet overall survival rates have remained fairly stagnant.

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