Heart attack not a death sentence

Jul 18, 2008

Survivors of cardiac arrest who received intensive care can expect long-term quality of life at reasonable expense to the health care system. Research published today in BioMed Central's open access journal Critical Care is the first to show that the allocation of resources to the treatment of heart attack patients is equally as justified as the treatment of other intensive care patient groups.

More than 600,000 people in Europe suffer cardiac arrest each year. Following successful CPR, patients are routinely admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). Although ICUs only care for a minority of patients, they consume a large proportion of hospital budgets.

The lead author of the study, Juergen Graf from the Philipps-University Marburg, Germany, said, "economic constraints create pressure to ration ICU care. Restricting the demand for futile medical services by limiting access to the ICU, at least for those patients likely to die anyway, has been proposed as a way of lowering expenditures".

In order to investigate this, Graf and his colleagues conducted an assessment of health status of patients five years after discharge from the ICU of Medical Clinic I, University Hospital Aachen, and combined this with a fully costed economic evaluation. Of 354 patients admitted to the ICU with cardiac arrest, 204 died prior to discharge from the hospital. Of the 150 remaining, 40 died before year five, leaving 110 patients (31%) eligible for the survey. The total costs for the ICU treatment of all 354 patients amounted to more than 6.3million euros.

According to Graf, "This is approximately double the cost of an average ICU patient, but it does compare favorably to a variety of other routine interventions such as mechanical ventilation or kidney dialysis". Furthermore, patients who survived cardiac arrest do not necessarily have as bleak a prognosis as is often anticipated. As the authors explain, "The health-related quality of life five years after discharge was only slightly lower than healthy controls of the same age and gender of the patients".

Graf concludes, "Our study is the first to demonstrate that patients who survive cardiac arrest without severe neurological disabilities may expect fair long-term survival and a good quality of life for reasonable expenses to the health care system".

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Routines most vital in avoiding Ebola infection: WHO

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

FDA gives green light to RP-VITA hospital robot

Jan 25, 2013

(Phys.org)—The FDA has approved RP-VITA from iRobot and InTouch Health. This is an autonomous medical robot which will be able to make its rounds of hospital corridors in the U.S. within the next few months. ...

Recommended for you

Routines most vital in avoiding Ebola infection: WHO

6 hours ago

Meticulously following stringent routines when putting on and removing protective equipment is more important than the kind of gear health care workers use to ward off Ebola infection, the World Health Organization said Friday.

A look at latest Ebola developments

7 hours ago

No African countries are on the United Nations list of contributors to fight Ebola. With few exceptions, African governments and institutions are offering only marginal support as the continent faces its ...

Liberia opens one of largest Ebola treatment centers

8 hours ago

Remembering those who have died in the world's deadliest Ebola outbreak, Liberia's president opened one of the country's largest Ebola treatment centers in Monrovia on Friday amid hopes that the disease is ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.