Hospitals' cardiac arrest incidence and survival rates go hand in hand

May 20, 2013

Hospitals with the highest rates of cardiac arrests tend to have the poorest survival rates for those cases, new University of Michigan Health System research shows.

Meanwhile, hospitals that do the best job of preventing cardiac arrest among their patients tend to be better at saving patients with cardiac arrest, according to the findings that appear in JAMA Internal Medicine.

These results were not entirely expected, say researchers. For conditions other than cardiac arrest, higher volume has been associated with better outcomes for patients. For example, for many procedures, hospitals and surgeons that perform more cases also have lower .

"Our results should be reassuring to patients seeking to identify the best hospital in the area of cardiac arrest. Hospitals that had lower rates of cardiac arrest were more likely to have better outcomes for patients who did arrest," says lead author Lena M. Chen, M.D., M.S., assistant professor in at the University of Michigan.

There is room for improvement in both prevention and treatment of cardiac arrest, as each year about 200,000 U.S. patients experience cardiac arrest while hospitalized and fewer than 20 percent of them survive to discharge.

National efforts to improve the quality of hospital care for cardiac arrest have focused on measuring hospitals' cardiac arrest . The authors suggest that such efforts are an appropriate first step towards reducing mortality from cardiac arrest, since hospitals that have high case-survival rates are also likely to have low .

Researchers could not fully explain why hospitals' performance on prevention and treatment seem to go hand in hand. Their results suggest that some factors such as may mediate the relationship between incidence and survival. For example, hospitals with higher nurse-to-bed ratios may have both lower rates of cardiac arrest and higher survival rates, the study found.

"Our overarching goal is to reduce mortality from cardiac arrest – whether through better prevention or better treatment of . A next step is to identify what's behind the success of hospitals that have already figured out how to be winners on both fronts – prevention and treatment," says Chen, who is also a member of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.

Explore further: Black cardiac arrest patients more likely to be admitted to hospitals with lowest survival rates

More information: "Association between a Hospital's Rate of Cardiac Arrest Incidence and Cardiac Arrest Survival," JAMA Internal Medicine. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1026

Related Stories

More children surviving in-hospital cardiac arrest

December 18, 2012

Hospitalized children who suffer cardiac arrest are nearly three times more likely to survive than they were about a decade ago, and no more likely to suffer brain impairment, according to new research in the American Heart ...

Recommended for you

Artificial heart design features porous plastic foam

October 2, 2015

Artificial hearts with multiple moving parts increase the chance of failure; scientists have worked up a device which is a single piece. No less interesting is the material they used; the team is taking a page out of soft ...

What powers the pumping heart?

September 25, 2015

Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps—a phenomenon known as contractility.

Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 24, 2015

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.