Living in high-rise buildings leads to lower survival rates from cardiac arrest

Washington D.C., Jan. 19 (ANI): A new study finds that survival rates from cardiac arrest decrease the higher up the building a person lives.

Ian Drennan, lead author of the study, said that cardiac arrests that occur in high-rise buildings pose unique barriers for 911-initiated first responders.

He added that 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.

Looking at data from 8,216 adults who suffered an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest treated by 911-initiated first responders in the City of Toronto and nearby Peel Region from January 2007 to December 2012, they found 3.8 per cent survived until they could be discharged from a hospital. Survival was 4.2 per cent for people living below the third floor and 2.6 per cent for people living on or above the third floor.

But Drennan said when they went back and looked at the exact floor the patients lived on, they found decreased survival rates as the floors got higher. 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.

While this study was intended to compare the rate of survival to hospital discharge for cardiac arrests that occur on higher versus lower floors of residential buildings, it also highlighted the fact that response times for 911-initiated first responders are traditionally measured from the time a call is received by the 911 dispatch centre to when the first emergency vehicle arrives on the scene.

The study has been published in Canadian Medical Association Journal. (ANI)

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