The season with the most in-hospital cardiac arrests

Milwaukee, Wisc.-based Aurora Sinai/Aurora St. Luke's Medical Centers and Morgantown-based West Virginia University School of Medicine researchers have discovered in-hospital cardiac arrests peak in winter.

The study, published in JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology, used National Inpatient Sample data from 2005 to 2019 to determine the incidence of in-hospital cardiac arrest by season. They evaluated overall seasonal trends stratified by sex, age and region, as well as common causes of admission that led to in-hospital cardiac arrest, differences among patients with shockable vs. nonshockable arrest, independent predictors and seasonal variation in in-hospital cardiac arrest-related in-hospital mortality and length of stay.

Researchers discover a "consistent winter peak" among men and women in all regions and all age groups except people under the age of 45.

"Improving insights into factors that influence the higher IHCA event rate during winter may help with proper resource allocation, development of strategies for early recognition of patients vulnerable to IHCA and closer monitoring and optimization of care to prevent IHCA and improve outcomes," the authors wrote.

Here are three other findings:

  • In 2019, the risk for in-hospital cardiac arrest was higher during winter than summer.

  • Patients with shockable in-hospital cardiac arrest were mostly admitted with cardiac conditions while those with nonshockable in-hospital cardiac arrest were predominantly admitted with noncardiac conditions.

  • There were no seasonal variations for in-hospital mortality after in-hospital cardiac arrests.

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