Pandemic Cut Recovery Odds for Cardiac Arrest, Study Says

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Suita, Osaka Prefecture

People suffering a cardiac arrest have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study from the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center.

The center, located in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, found that the recovery rate among those who had a cardiac arrest in April 2020 was down by 30% in urban areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka, where a state of emergency was declared earlier than in other parts of the country.

Researchers believe that this lower recovery rate was due in part to more people staying at home and collapsing there, preventing them from quickly receiving defibrillation as they would have if they had gone out.

The center’s team of researchers, headed by Teruo Noguchi, deputy director of the NCVC Hospital, analyzed the data of about 22,000 patients across the country who had been transported to a hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest between 2017 and 2020.

The analysis showed that only about 20% of those who had a cardiac arrest in April 2020 in Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures where a state of emergency was declared ahead of other areas recovered to the point where they could live without assistance. The figure is about 30% lower than the roughly 30% of patients who had favorable recoveries in non-pandemic years, defined as 2017 to 2019.

Additionally, while in non-pandemic years some 30% of patients in urban areas received defibrillation from bystanders before the arrival of an ambulance, this figure fell to about 15% for April 2020.

The findings were published on the website of a medical magazine.

“The study highlighted how the coronavirus pandemic has affected critical-care patients,” said Takeshi Yamamoto, associate professor at Nippon Medical School. “It’s important to make defibrillators available in local communities so that they can be used on patients who have a cardiac arrest at home.”