Trends in Survival after In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Saket Girotra, M.D., Brahmajee K. Nallamothu, M.D., M.P.H., John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., Yan Li, Ph.D., Harlan M. Krumholz, M.D., and Paul S. Chan, M.D. for the American Heart Association Get with the Guidelines–Resuscitation Investigators

N Engl J Med 2012; 367:1912-1920November 15, 2012DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1109148



Despite advances in resuscitation care in recent years, it is not clear whether survival and neurologic function after in-hospital cardiac arrest have improved over time.


We identified all adults who had an in-hospital cardiac arrest at 374 hospitals in the Get with the Guidelines–Resuscitation registry between 2000 and 2009. Using multivariable regression, we examined temporal trends in risk-adjusted rates of survival to discharge. Additional analyses explored whether trends were due to improved survival during acute resuscitation or postresuscitation care and whether they occurred at the expense of greater neurologic disability in survivors.


Among 84,625 hospitalized patients with cardiac arrest, 79.3% had an initial rhythm of asystole or pulseless electrical activity, and 20.7% had ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. The proportion of cardiac arrests due to asystole or pulseless electrical activity increased over time (P<0.001 for trend). Risk-adjusted rates of survival to discharge increased from 13.7% in 2000 to 22.3% in 2009 (adjusted rate ratio per year, 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03 to 1.06; P<0.001 for trend). Survival improvement was similar in the two rhythm groups and was due to improvement in both acute resuscitation survival and postresuscitation survival. Rates of clinically significant neurologic disability among survivors decreased over time, with a risk-adjusted rate of 32.9% in 2000 and 28.1% in 2009 (adjusted rate ratio per year, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.00; P=0.02 for trend).


Both survival and neurologic outcomes after in-hospital cardiac arrest have improved during the past decade at hospitals participating in a large national quality-improvement registry. (Funded by the American Heart Association.)




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