Survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest drops 17% amid pandemic, study finds

Patients who experienced out-of-hospital cardiac arrest faced worse outcomes during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic compared to the same period in 2019, according to a recent study published in JAMA Cardiology.

Researchers compared OHCA outcomes from March 16 to April 30 to the same period last year and found the overall rates of survival to discharge fell 17 percent. A total of 9,863 cases of OHCA were reported during the 2020 study period and 9,440 in 2019. The study categorized COVID-19 mortality from "very low" to "very high" and found lower OHCA survival rates only in communities with moderate (more than 100 deaths per million residents) to very high (more than 500 deaths per million residents) virus mortality.

Rates of sustained return of spontaneous circulation, or the return of regular heart function, were also lower during the pandemic period. Communities with higher COVID-19 mortality rates had an overall increase of 52 percent in OHCA compared to the same period in 2019. 

The study outlines several possible factors that may contribute to the findings, such as delayed medical care in earlier stages of the pandemic leading to higher heart attack and death rates at home. 


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