Heart attack patients need their hearts started faster

Health care providers need to work harder on getting the heart beating again as quickly as possible in heart attack patients, according to a new advisory published in Circulation.

The advisory points out that the mortality rate for patients whose hearts were restarted was 67 percent in adults and 55 percent in children, mainly because health care providers are only starting to learn how to deal with the after-effects of the heart being stopped. These include heart dysfunction, brain injury, and even the underlying disease that caused the cardiac arrest.

It also says that doctors should consider some treatments that may help, including inducing mild hypothermia in adult patients for up to 12 to 24 hours after the event, and performing coronary angiography to find any clots that may have contributed to the problem.

To learn more about the advisory:
- Read this Washington Post piece