Heart attacks & days of the week
7 Healthcast: Heart attacks & days of the week
"The two most important things about surviving a cardiac arrest is identifying an abnormal rhythm quickly and then delivering the appropriate therapy," Dr. Gunnerson said.
But according to a new study, some patients at many U.S. hospitals who go into cardiac arrest while hospitalized may be less likely to survive.
"We were able to determine that survival from cardiac arrest was significantly lower when the arrest occurred during the night or on the weekend compared to during weekdays," said researcher Dr. Mary Ann Peberdy.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University analyzed data from about 86,000 incidents of cardiac arrest at roughly five hundred U.S. hospitals and medical centers. They found patients who went into cardiac arrest during the night had only a fifteen percent survival rate compared to a twenty percent survival rate during the day. During weekends the likelihood of survival also decreased.
"It may be a physiological difference in patients that accounts for this study," Dr. Peberdy said. "It may be that hospital staffing patterns are different."
Lower patient survival rates were found in all areas of the hospitals except the emergency department.
"The emergency department is one of the only areas in the hospital that has consistent staffing 24 hours a day and seven days a week," Dr. Peberdy said.
The researchers of the study recommend the entire hospital have more resuscitation training with an emphasis on nights and weekends.
The study is in the Journal of the American Medical Association.(Copyright 2008 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)