IOM experts to evaluate how to keep hearts beating
The odds of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest aren’t good. More than 9 in 10 people who experience cardiac arrest outside the walls of a hospital die, according to the American Heart Association.
Noted cardiologists and other physicians will meet in Washington Monday to discuss how cardiac arrest is treated in the U.S. and what can be done to improve survival rates. The Treatment of Cardiac Arrest project, organized by the Institute of Medicine and sponsored by several national heart groups, has held two previous meetings on the topic this year. The project is chaired by Dr. Robert Graham, a health policy research professor at George Washington University. “This is a disease that has an enormous public-health impact,” said Dr. Lance Becker, a professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pennsylvania who serves on the IOM project’s 20-person committee. “In general, the survival (rate) is really not at all what we’re happy with.”
Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. In cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating, usually because of an abnormality in the heart’s electrical system. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators are most commonly used to treat cardiac arrest. In 2013, there were 359,000 U.S. cases of cardiac arrest outside of hospitals and 209,000 inside of hospitals, according to the American Heart Association.
Monday’s meeting will feature four panels addressing current and future treatments for cardiac arrest, research trials and clinical improvements. The IOM said it expects to release a final report next June.