WFYI Indianapolis

Did You Know?: Surviving Cardiac Arrest

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Air date: October 5, 2008

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Did you Know? is presented by Wishard Health Services, becoming Eskenazi Health in 2014.




It's true. Where you live dictates the odds of surviving if your heart stops and you're not in a hospital.

According to a recent study, if your heart stops while not in the hospital, the odds of survival vary widely from region to region in the United States. The worst location is Alabama, where on average only three percent of cardiac arrest victims make it to the hospital and live to tell the tale. The odds are best in Seattle, where just over 16 percent of victims survive.

To be clear, cardiac arrest is not the same as a heart attack, when the heart struggles to pump blood through clogged arteries. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating normally -- and it's often lethal. In general, less than five percent of cardiac arrest victims survive -- no matter where they live.

But why do some places give you a better chance for survival than others? According to the study, it depends on how well equipped a town or city is to treat cardiac arrest. Factors include the promptness of emergency responders, CPR training among the general population, and the quality of hospital care.

And now you know.

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