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August 29, 1977

Cardiac Arrest-Reply

JAMA. 1977;238(9):939. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280100022012

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We agree with Dr Harrison that anesthetic deaths are almost invariably preventable but continue to occur primarily because of human error. By definition, "adequate" monitoring should prevent unexpected cardiac arrests, but one of the thrusts of our study was the demonstration that usual and conventional monitoring does not prevent such occurrences; ergo, it is not always adequate. Foolproof monitoring is not yet available.

One of the principal advantages of a national registry for cardiac arrests would be that it would permit a clearer delineation of the circumstances surrounding an unexpected cardiac arrest. Use of a standard reporting form, such as the one we have prepared, provides for a more complete evaluation of the conditions prevailing before, during, and after the cardiac arrest while the events are still fresh in mind. With more complete and reliable information that the registry would provide, one could classify the primary cause more