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Casinos safer than hospitals for heart attack victims

4 January 2008

UNITED STATES -- As reported by the West Australian: "People who suffer a life-threatening alteration in heart rhythms are more likely to survive if they are in a casino or airport than if they are in a hospital, researchers reported today.

"Doctors already knew that more than half of those who suffer such attacks in airports and casinos survive.

"But a new study in hospitals shows that only a third of victims there survive -- primarily because patients do not receive life-saving defibrillation within the recommended two minutes.

"Nearly 40 percent of hospitalized patients who received defibrillation within two minutes survived to leave the hospital, compared to only 22 percent of those for whom the response took longer, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"...People who suffer a heart attack in the middle of a crowded airport or casino - where defibrillators are widely available - are typically noticed immediately, whereas a lone patient suffering an attack in a hospital room may not be noticed for much of the crucial window of opportunity during which defibrillation is most effective.

"The odds of survival are even lower in small hospitals with fewer than 250 beds, and on nights and weekends, according to the study.

"The study was written by Dr Paul Chan of Saint Luke's Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City and Dr Brahmajee Nallamothu of the University of Michigan..."

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