Residents of high-rise buildings had better survival rates from cardiac arrests if they lived on the first few floors, and survival was negligible for people living above the 16th floor, according to a study. The study of nearly 8,000 adults shows the higher the floor, the lower the odds of surviving an “out-of-hospital” cardiac arrest. People living above the third floor were about half as likely to survive than those living closer to the ground.
As the number of high-rise buildings continues to increase and as population density rises in major urban centres, it is important to determine the effect of delays to patient care in high-rise buildings on survival after cardiac arrest. The further a patient with cardiac arrest is from the ground floor, the lower the survival rate. Of 8216 people who had cardiac arrests in private residences and were treated by 911-initiated first responders, 3.8% survived to be discharged from hospital. Of the 5998 (73%) people living below the 3rd floor who had cardiac arrests, 252 (4.2%) survived the arrest, but only 48 (2.6%) of the 1844 people living above the 3rd floor survived. When analysed floor by floor, the researchers found a survival rate of only 0.9% in those living above the 16th floor (2 of 216) and no survivors (0 of 30) in those living above the 25th floor. The researchers note that the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) was very low.
The study looked at the interval from arrival of an emergency vehicle to 911-initiated first responders reaching a patient having a cardiac arrest. Other studies, which have also shown poor survival rates, have measured response time between the call to 911 and arrival of an emergency vehicle on scene, but not the time to reach the patient.