An expert committee assembled by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has produced an important new report proposing methods for increasing survival rates and quality of life following cardiac arrest, and two prominent Miller School of Medicine physicians — cardiologist Robert J. Myerburg, M.D., and neurologist Ralph L. Sacco, M.D., M.S. — played key roles on the committee.
The report recommends seven courses of action, including a national data base, new public education and training initiatives, and programs for improving response times in and out of hospitals.
Cardiac arrest strikes almost 600,000 people in the U.S. each year, killing the vast majority of them, according to the IOM report. Approximately 395,000 cardiac arrests occur in an out-of-hospital setting, of which less than 6 percent survive. Another 200,000 cardiac arrests occur in hospitals, and 24 percent of those patients survive. Estimates suggest that cardiac arrest is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind cancer and heart disease, as a general category.