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Cardiac arrest may be fatal for those living in high rise buildings

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New York: Survival rates from cardiac arrest decrease the higher up the building a person lives, warns a new study.

“Cardiac arrests that occur in high-rise buildings pose unique barriers for 911 — the emergency telephone number for the North American Numbering Plan, initiated first responders,” said lead author Ian Drennan, researcher with Rescu at the St. Michael’s Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

Building access issues, elevator delays and extended distance from the emergency vehicle to the patient can all contribute to longer times for 911-initiated first responders to reach the patient and start time-sensitive, potentially life-saving resuscitation, the researchers explained.

The number of people living in high-rise building grew by 13 percent in Toronto, in 2006- 2011.

Many of those people are older, with higher rates of serious medical issues and higher risk of cardiac arrest.

The researchers found that only 3.8 percent adults survived, out of a data of 8,216 adults (from January 2007 to December 2012), after suffering an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and were treated by 911-initiated first responders in Toronto and Peel Region.

Survival was 4.2 percent for people living below the third floor and 2.6 percent for people living on or above the third floor.

Survival above the 16th floor was 0.9 per cent (of 216 cases, only two survived). There were no survivors to hospital discharge of the 30 cardiac arrests above the 25th floor.

“Patients who survived tended to be younger, their cardiac arrest was more often witnessed by bystanders, and bystanders were more likely to perform Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — a lifesaving technique useful in especially in heart attack,” Drennan said.

The paper was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. (IANS)

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Anaemia Drug Can Aid in Recovery After Heart Attack

However, further studies will be needed to confirm if the same benefits are seen in humans, they noted

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Drugs currently undergoing development to treat anaemia — lack of blood — could be repurposed to help prevent people with Type-2 diabetes from developing heart failure, according to a new research.

Researchers found that after a heart attack, a protein called HIF acts to help heart cells survive.

In people with diabetes, fats accumulate within the heart muscle and stop the HIF protein from becoming active. This means that a person is more likely to suffer lasting heart muscle damage, and develop heart failure after a heart attack.

“After a heart attack, people with Type-2 diabetes are more likely to develop heart failure more quickly, but we have not fully understood the reasons why that is the case,” said lead researcher Lisa Heather, research student at the University of Oxford in the UK.

“What we have shown with this research is that the metabolism of people with Type-2 diabetes means they have higher levels of fatty acids in the heart. This prevents signals going to the heart protective protein telling it to ‘kick-in’ after a heart attack,” she added.

Representational image.
Representational image. (IANS)

In the study, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team treated diabetic rats with a drug known to activate the HIF protein, and were able to encourage the heart to recover after a heart attack.

However, these initial results suggest that several drugs known to activate HIF and currently undergoing phase-III clinical trials to treat people with anaemia, could potentially be given to people with diabetes, immediately after a heart attack in the future, the researchers said.

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“This research in rats has not only identified the mechanism that could explain why people with Type-2 diabetes have poorer outcomes after a heart attack, but also a practical way this might be prevented,” the researchers explained.

However, further studies will be needed to confirm if the same benefits are seen in humans, they noted. (IANS)

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