In nearly one-third of cardiac arrest cases, delayed hospital response lead to brain damage and death, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.
A study released today identified 6,789 patients who had cardiac arrest at 369 hospitals across the nation and found that many hospitals delayed defibrillation response for more than two minutes.
Reasons for delays included non-cardiac admitting diagnosis and hospital size, the race of the patient and admittance after peak hours.
When defibrillation was delayed, only 22.2 percent of patients survived long enough to be discharged from the hospital, as opposed to 39.3 percent when the shock was given on time.
In Colorado Springs, both Memorial Health System and Penrose-St. Francis Health Center have adopted procedures to lower the response time for cardiac arrest patients.
Memorial’s program, known as cardiac alert, has one of the fastest times in the nation. The hospital was named one of the top 100 cardiac hospitals in the nation by Thomson Healthcare.