People in high-rise buildings may not survive cardiac arrest

New York, Jan 19 (IANS) Survival rates from cardiac arrest decreases the higher up the building a person lives, warns a new study.

“Cardiac arrests that occur in high-rise buildings pose unique barriers for 911 — the emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan, initiated first responders,” said lead author Ian Drennan, researcher with Rescu at the St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

Building access issues, elevator delays and extended distance from the emergency vehicle to the patient can all contribute to longer times for 911-initiated first responders to reach the patient and start time-sensitive, potentially life-saving resuscitation, the researchers explained.

The number of people living in high-rise building grew by 13 percent in Toronto, in 2006- 2011.

Many of those people are older, with higher rates of serious medical issues and higher risk of cardiac arrest.

The researchers found that only 3.8 percent adults survived, out of a data of 8,216 adults (from January 2007 to December 2012), after suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and were treated by 911-initiated first responders in Toronto and Peel Region.

Survival was 4.2 percent for people living below the third floor and 2.6 percent for people living on or above the third floor.

Survival above the 16th floor was 0.9 per cent (of 216 cases, only two survived). There were no survivors to hospital discharge of the 30 cardiac arrests above the 25th floor.

“Patients who survived tended to be younger, their cardiac arrest was more often witnessed by bystanders, and bystanders were more likely to perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — a lifesaving technique useful in especially in heart attack,” Drennan said.

The paper was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

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