It is a Time to Act to improve Cardiac Arrests

More than ever, it is “a Time to Act.” More than 500,000 cardiac arrests occur annually in- and out-of-hospital in the United States and only about 10 percent of out-of-hospital victims survive.

Today, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report entitled “Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act (2015),” calling for more national collaboration to create a culture of action. The American Heart Association supports the IOM’s report and recognizes the opportunity for AHA to continue our work to meaningfully improve outcomes for cardiac arrest.

We are already supporting the IOM’s recommendations to improve survival from cardiac arrest through a broad range of strategies, from CPR programs and advocacy initiatives to educate the public to quality improvement efforts to help hospitals improve delivery of care and survival from cardiac events.

The IOM report outlines eight recommendations to improve survival from sudden cardiac arrest.

  1. Establish a national cardiac arrest registry.
  2. Foster a culture of action through public awareness and training.
  3. Enhance the capabilities and performance of EMS systems.
  4. Set national accreditation standards related to cardiac arrest for hospitals and health care systems.
  5. Adopt continuous quality improvement programs.
  6. Accelerate research on pathophysiology, new therapies, and translation of science for cardiac arrest.
  7. Accelerate research on the evaluation and adoption of cardiac arrest therapies.
  8. Create a national cardiac arrest collaborative.

Five years ago we set some aggressive strategic goals to guide us in these efforts, based off of data from 2010:

  • By 2020, double all out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival and dramatically increase in-hospital cardiac arrest survival for adult (double) and pediatric (50%) patients.
  • Double CPR bystander response rate, from 31% to 62%, by 2020.

At the halfway point, we’re already making some great headway toward our goals as survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has already increased about 35% and bystander response rate has already increased by more than 45% according to the latest data. This new IOM report will help accelerate the AHA’s goal of doubling cardiac arrest survival, which saves an additional 50,000 cardiac arrest victims each year. We applaud the IOM for their work and know it will help us raise awareness of the issue of cardiac arrest and help save more lives.

In response to the IOM’s report, the American Heart Association today issued a special report outlining its bolstered commitment to improving survival from cardiac arrest. It includes:

  • Providing up to $5 million over 5 years to incentivize resuscitation data collection and sharing;
  • Pursuing philanthropic support for local and regional implementation opportunities to increase cardiac arrest survival by improving out-of-hospital and in-hospital systems of care;
  • Generating support to launch a resuscitation research network; and
  • Co-sponsoring a national cardiac arrest summit to help create a national cardiac arrest collaborative to identify common goals to improve survival.

For more than 40 years, we have produced Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) and through promoting the principles of the chain of survival – early recognition and activation of EMS, early CPR, early defibrillation and early access to emergency medical care – have contributed to saving hundreds of thousands of lives around the world over the past fifty years. We commend this report and will continue training millions of lifesavers every year to educate them on the importance of cardiac arrest.

Click here for more information on the IOM report and the American Heart Association’s responsive Special Report.

national responsibility

6 thoughts on “It is a Time to Act to improve Cardiac Arrests”

  1. Establish community centered CPR service centers would be very helpful to educate the public.

  2. Imagine humanity’s saving more lives through co-operative caring than destroying lives through selfishness!!! What a heartening thought—-“high time” ! (There’s hope for us, YET.)

  3. Can AHA help establish AED’s as part of required business equipment, such as building codes for fire alarms, emergency evacuation procedures or similar to Fire Extinguishers.

  4. If a student is 5- 10 minutes late to a Family and Friends class (missing 5 minutes or so of the video) can we still issue a Family and Friends card?

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