U.S. data from early this year suggest the pandemic has led to decreased survival rates after “out-of-hospital” cardiac arrest.
Based on nationwide data, the proportion of patients whose hearts could be restarted was 21% lower in March-April 2020 than in the same period in 2019, researchers reported on Saturday at the annual American Heart Association meeting, held virtually this year, and in JAMA Cardiology.
The proportion of patients who survived to be discharged from hospitals was also lower in 2020, at 6.6%, versus 9.8% in 2019.
Survival rates after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest had nearly doubled in the last 20 years, and “we want to make sure we don’t lose those gains,” said coauthor Dr. Paul Chan of St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Missouri.
Dr. Clifton Callaway of the University of Pittsburgh, who viewed the presentation but was not involved in the study, said other viewers noted it is more difficult for paramedics to work wearing full personal protective gear as it takes time to put on and can impede emergency care. Furthermore, some patients may have delayed calling for help over concerns of becoming infected with the coronavirus. And some may have also had COVID-19, making their medical condition more severe.