A new US study has revealed that the chances of surviving out-of-hospital heart attacks have not changed in the past 30 years.
The University of Michigan research showed that only 7.6 percent of victims survived cardiac arrest at home, restaurant or work, a number that has not improved over three decades.
Researchers insist there are some key factors that can make a difference in saving lives when cardiac arrest happens.
They said although half of cardiac arrests are witnessed by a bystander only 32 percent or about one in every three people received CPR.
"Our study shows that patients with a heart rhythm that can be shocked, or who have bystander CPR or a pulse restored at the scene have a much greater chance of survival," said lead author Dr Comilla Sasson, a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar and emergency medicine physician at the U-M Health System.
The research team evaluated data on 142,740 patients from 79 studies between January 1950 and August 2008.
They found of the more than 140,000 patients, only 23.8 percent survived to hospital admission, and 7.6 percent, or about 1 in 10 people, lived to be discharged from the hospital.
Cardiac arrest victims who received CPR from a bystander or an emergency medical services provider, and those who had a shockable heart rhythm, referred to as ventricular fibrillation, were more likely to survive.
"Increasing bystander CPR rates, increasing the awareness and use of devices to shock the heart, and keeping paramedics on scene until they restore a person's pulse needs to occur if we are ever going to change our dismal survival rate," adds Sasson.
The findings appear in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.