Living in High Rise Lowers Chances of Surviving Heart Attack
There’s at least one down side to living on the higher floors of a high rise building–your chances of surviving a heart attack are not as good as they’d be if you lived on a lower floor.
That’s the conclusion of a study at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Researchers studied 7,842 people who had cardiac arrest in private residences and were treated by first responders after a 911 call. Fewer than 4 percent of people survived and were eventually able to leave the hospital.
Of the 5,998 people who lived below the third floor of their buildings, 4.2 percent survived, compared to 2.6 percent of those living above the third floor. Fewer than 1 percent of those living above the 16th floor survived, and none of the 30 patients who lived above the 25th floor survived, the researchers reported in CMAJ.
The time it takes for a first responder arriving at the building to reach the patient having a cardiac arrest increases when the patient lives on a higher floor. On average, it took responders about six minutes from the time of the 911 call to arrive at the building. But it took them an average of three minutes between arriving at the building and first contact with the patient for those lived on the first or second floor, compared to an average of almost five minutes for those who lived on or above the third floor.
With other time-sensitive conditions, such as a heart attack or stroke, minutes count – but with cardiac arrest a difference of just a few seconds can determine if someone survives.
The study authors recommend that buildings and residents help expedite the process by having an emergency response plan, making sure the responders can get in the building immediately and can access the elevators as quickly as possible.
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