AHA Says Cardiac Arrest Gets Little Research Funding Despite Huge Death Toll

AHA Says Cardiac Arrest Gets Little Research Funding Despite Huge Death Toll

News Jul 13, 2017

Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S. but gets just a fraction of the government’s funding for medical research, according to a new study.

Researchers aren’t sure exactly why there’s such a disparity in funding from the National Institutes of Health, but say more is definitely needed considering about 450,000 Americans die each year from cardiac arrest. Most cardiac arrest victims don’t survive.

The new analysis of funding from 2007 to 2016 is the first to evaluate the annual trend of NIH cardiac arrest research funding over time, researchers said. The analysis was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

The American Heart Association’s 2017 Statistical Update does not rank cardiac arrest as a separate cause of death, but the study authors cite Institute of Medicine statistics suggesting cardiac arrest is the country’s third-leading cause of death.

NIH funds allocated for cardiac arrest have declined from $35.4 million to $28.5 million during the past decade, the researchers noted. To put the investment disparity in perspective, researchers examined figures from 2015 and found the NIH invested about $2,200 per each stroke death annually; $2,100 for each heart disease death; and $91 for each cardiac arrest death. The investment also lagged far behind diabetes ($13,000) and cancer ($9,000).

This limited government funding is especially difficult because, unlike other diseases, cardiac arrest generally doesn’t get funding from industry, including pharmaceutical manufacturers, said study author Robert Neumar, M.D., Ph.D., professor and chair of the University of Michigan Health System’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

Kelly Sawyer, M.D., M.S., knows firsthand the importance of cardiac arrest research.

Six years ago, as she was conducting cardiac arrest-related research, Sawyer went into cardiac arrest and collapsed. Because of the quick actions of her colleagues, Sawyer is alive and well today.

“A lot of my care was in the hospital,” she said. “So, I experienced some of the same treatment I was doing research on at the time. Terribly ironic.”

About 25 percent of people survive cardiac arrests in the hospital, while just over 10 percent survive outside the hospital, according to AHA statistics.

Continue Reading

“I wasn’t out on the street like many others are,” she said. “Lay rescuers either do or do not respond, and there’s a lot of research into understanding why that is and how we can get more people to respond, so we can provide CPR more quickly.

“In the emergency department we see that often, where we know there are large delays. And we can’t necessarily make up for those large delays with our current interventions.”

While there is a shortage of NIH funding, it does indeed help, said study author Ryan A. Coute, a medical student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences who conducted the research while completing a Sarnoff fellowship at University of Michigan.

“Research can lead to new resuscitation treatment strategies, innovative ways to identify people at risk for cardiac arrest and methods to optimize post-cardiac arrest care, to name a few,” he said.

For example, NIH funding of the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium led to overall survival increases from 10.2 to 12.4 percent from 2006 to 2015 at participating study sites. The NIH-funded Public Access Defibrillation Trial demonstrated that deployment of public access defibrillators saves lives. And multiple animal studies funded by NIH have demonstrated hypothermia reduces brain injury caused by cardiac arrest, according to Coute.

What the new study doesn’t specify is why NIH research funds for cardiac arrest are dwindling.

“Our results show a lack of growth in the number of investigators funded by NIH to perform cardiac arrest research, which may suggest an inadequate pool of investigators focused on this disease,” Coute said. “We should encourage physician-scientists from various fields of medicine, such as cardiology, neurology and critical care, to focus their talents on cardiac arrest research.”

The problem is both a lack of researchers and funds, Neumar said.

Research dollars, according to Neumar, are needed to optimize the system of cardiac arrest care, so that bystanders, emergency medical services and hospital providers can work together and quickly to save lives.

“The other important area is post-cardiac arrest care,” Neumar said. “Once someone is resuscitated and gets to the hospital, that’s really only half the battle. Keeping them alive and minimizing the brain damage caused by cardiac arrest are areas where important research is needed.”

American Heart Association News
EMS personnel, their colleagues in healthcare and public safety, and the public are encouraged to provide input on the proposals outlined in the Straw Man document regarding the future of EMS.
The StethoSafe is a patent pending case that greatly extends the life of a stethoscope by quickly and easily protecting the head of a stethoscope.
First responders from around the country gathered to participate in a water rescue training program despite some of the instructors being deployed to hurricanes Harvey and Irma rescue efforts.
The First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grant will provide training and other resources to assist paramedics, law enforcement and health workers to prevent and treat opioid addiction.
The Department of Health granted $300,000 to the San Bernardino to purchase a mobile Class B fire simulator to replace the decade-old one.
About 70,000 people were still without power due to Irma before Maria made contact with the island, and experts are predicting 175mph wind gusts and flash flooding during the worst of the storm.
The quake ironically struck on the anniversary of a 1985 earthquake that killed thousands of people in Mexico City.
Since 1975, Crestline has firmly established itself as a trusted industry leader and innovative manufacturer of high quality products in the Specialty Vehicle industry.
Dominica was hit by 155mph winds, causing flooding and structural damage, and is expected to grow stronger before hitting the Virgin Islands already devastated by Hurricane Irma.

A bus driver with a record of drunk driving crashed into another bus after speeding through an intersection in Queens, New York City, resulting in 3 deaths and multiple seriously injured patients. 

The new devices replace aging ones, allowing paramedics to provide better patient care and communicate more efficiently with the hospital.
With a nationwide rise in active shooter and MCI scenarios, Broward County is bolstering the protection of its firefighter-paramedics.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded an additional $144.1 million in grants to prevent and treat opioid addiction in support of President Trump’s commitment to combat the opioid crisis.
The guidelines were created as a resource to be used or adapted for use on a state, regional or local level to enhance patient care.
NIOSH and NHTSA offer a new fact sheet based on recent research.