Cardiac arrest can happen without a warning, and although there are certain risk factors, it can affect just about anyone, at any time. In the US, over half a million people experience cardiac arrest each year. Out of these cases, more than half will occur outside of a hospital.
The survival rate for cardiac arrest victims is typically less than 15%, even lower if the incident happens away from a medical facility. Today, cardiac arrest is considered one of the leading causes of death in the US.
This is why we’ve gathered the most recent AED and cardiac arrest statistics that show what we know about cardiac arrest, the severity of this condition, how the use of AEDs impacts outcomes, and more. This data isn’t just informative but has important implications on how we can improve survival odds.
What Is Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest is a medical emergency that happens when the heart’s electrical system malfunctions. This results in an abnormal and irregular heart rhythm and prevents the heart from beating properly.
It’s different from a heart attack, and during cardiac arrest, the heart muscles simply can’t pump blood effectively and, as a result, oxygen can’t reach vital organs in the body. This means that those organs will quickly start to shut down.
A cardiac arrest victim requires immediate attention and treatment not only to save the person’s life but also to ensure a smoother recovery process.
Cardiac Arrest Statistics
Let’s dig into AED and Cardiac Arrest Statistics but lets focus on cardiac arrests first. Ventricular fibrillation, or arrhythmia, is by far the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest, being the reason behind the majority of cases (85%). Blood vessel abnormalities, scarring of heart tissue, cardiomyopathy, and recreational drug use are other possible factors.
Based on reports from 1992 to 2014 from the emergency medical services (EMS) to the Swedish Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (SRCR), 92% of OHCA cases have a medical cause. For the 8% with non-medical etiology, trauma was the most common cause (26%), while drowning and drug overdose had the highest survival rates.
Bystander CPR and AED use before EMS arrive is associated with higher survival rates and better outcomes. Out of patients that were shocked by a bystander, 66.5% survived to discharge, compared to 43% of those who were initially shocked by emergency medical services.
The frequency of layperson-administered CPR varies from year to year but generally showed an upward trend going from 37.8% in 2012 to 41.6% in 2019. The usage of an AED by a layperson also shows very slight variation. It was 4% in 2012, and 6.5% in 2019.
In 2020, during the pandemic, there was a 119% increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) compared to previous periods in 10 countries. Mortality also increased to 85% from 62%.
CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) data shows that during 2020 in the US, there was a reduced survival of OHCA cases and less frequent bystander AED use (5.8%). Bystander-administered CPR data didn’t show any notable changes and was 40.8%.
According to the American Heart Organization, the best way to increase the chances of survival in cases of cardiac arrest is to implement the “chain of survival” concept that includes, among other elements, early CPR and rapid defibrillation.
Adult vs Children Cardiac Arrest Statistics
AHA data indicates that adult cardiac arrest cases that happen out of the hospital are 2.5 times more deadly than in-hospital cardiac arrests (IHCA). While in children, this number increases, and OHCA cases are 4 times deadlier when there is no medical personnel to provide the needed assistance.
While adults, and elderly individuals, are considered to be at much greater risk than children, cardiac arrest can happen to anyone regardless of age. Mortality among infants (younger than 1 year) is found to be higher, while the threat decreases for those between 1 to 14 years of age.
Cardiac Arrest Survival Statistics
While the 2022 AHA update shows that mortality rates have witnessed a significant decrease during the last two decades, many concerns remain. 2020 data shows that within the US cardiac arrest had a death toll of over 436,000. We can also see that only 9.1% of non-traumatic cardiac arrest patients survived to hospital discharge.
Survival statistics found in the AHA Journals also show how survival rates for sudden cardiac death can differ based on age, sex, but also race, and ethnicity. Black females from San Francisco had a 2.55 higher chance of sudden death compared to their white counterparts. This data shows that there needs to be more attention devoted to how we can improve survival rates in all communities.
AED and Cardiac Arrest Statistics To Know
Healthcare organizations place a heavy emphasis on improving resuscitation outcomes. The AHA Consensus Statement on cardiopulmonary resuscitation quality gives insight into the link between properly administered CPR and survival.
The findings suggest that even when performed according to guidelines, CPR provides only 10% to 30% of normal blood flow to the heart and 30% to 40% of normal blood flow to the brain.
This itself highlights the need for a more comprehensive approach that prioritizes revitalizing the heart. Concerns arise from statistics that show that in bystander response only 4% used AED. This is linked directly to the low availability of AED devices in public places.
What’s more, statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show that 70% to 90% of cardiac arrest victims die before reaching the hospital. Yet, this might be improved by making AEDs more accessible.
Research also shows that countries such as Japan where AEDs are readily available in schools have witnessed improved OHCA outcomes in children.
One study focused on uncovering the CPR training disparities in the US found that a smaller income, less education, and old age were among the main factors that contributed to a lower likelihood of receiving CPR training. Another study showed that only a small portion of the US adult population (2.4%) is trained in CPR each year.
By investigating the effects of a community-focused CPR education program in Texas, research has found that upon completing the training more than 50% of the participants could correctly identify the necessary steps for hand-only CPR.
2021 studies show that although health organizations recommend that all educational facilities and workspaces provide access to AEDs, only 18 US states currently require them.
In 2022, the number of states with AED laws witnessed an increase and now 24 out of 50 states in the US have introduced requirements for the implementation of these devices on school grounds.
Many states have passed laws that require students to learn CPR prior to graduation. However, these classes mainly include chest compression CPR and do not necessarily educate students on the use of AED devices or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Nonetheless, this is still useful in spreading information and awareness about the importance of immediate resuscitation. The laws vary from state to state, but all require schools to provide CPR education in accordance with the latest CPR guidelines and note that students must receive hands-on experience.
Even though these statistics might seem impressive, there is a long way to go to improve public health and safety. According to the American College of Cardiology around 35 million students in the US attend public elementary and secondary schools with no AED requirements.
AED Availability Statistics
Le’ts dig deeper into AED and Cardiac Arrest Statistics with a focus on the AED portion. Findings from the AHA Journals suggest that defibrillator devices are used in less than 3% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases. According to other research, public access to defibrillation programs can increase the likelihood of bystander response.
Their findings show that by positioning AED devices in federal buildings, airports, casinos, schools, and workplace environments significant improvements have been demonstrated with survival rates varying between 28% to 56%.
Additionally, research also shows that out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims to whom the first defibrillation shock was administered before the arrival of the emergency response team had significantly better outcomes.
AEDs must be made available if a cardiac arrest happens at a given location at least every few years. Despite the estimated purchase of more than 1 million AEDs over the last two decades in the US, there is still no national registry that tracks the availability and use of these devices.
An older 2004 study that examined the use of AED in Chicago airports has shown that over a two-year period out of 21 victims, 11 were successfully resuscitated with 6 of the rescuers who administered AED bystander response having no prior experience or training.
Conclusion: AED and Cardiac Arrest Statistics
Cardiac arrest remains the cause of 300,000 to 450,000 deaths in the US annually. The majority of AED and CPR statistics that we’ve discussed only showcase the major concerns regarding low survival outcomes and indicate that we need to improve our response to OHCA cases.
Luckily, plenty of educational initiatives continue to be administered within communities in order to tackle the underlying issues which contribute to the low bystander response in the US. Healthcare organizations such as the AHA regularly update guidelines and encourage both medical professionals and communities to actively take part in solving the problems by offering AED and CPR courses.This should give you a good understanding of AED and Cardiac Arrest Statistics and what they are.