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Discrepancies even within provinces illustrate need for more study.

OTTAWA, September 23, 2004 - A team of scientists in emergency medicine at the OHRI - the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and major partner of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences - have gathered statistics on cardiac arrest wherever they were available in cities across Canada. A first and surprising finding was that many cities and provinces did not even have the information.

The team of researchers, led by Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Scientist Dr. Christian Vaillancourt, looked at a number of important factors, most notably: number of cardiac arrests, survival rates, emergency response times, use of defibrillators and bystander CPR. The study was conducted as part of the Canadian Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Team (CCORT).

The results, which were recently published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, indicate a rather low survival rate across Canada at about five per cent. Edmonton stood out as the highest survival rate in major cities across Canada, at 9.0 per cent. Peterborough, Ontario, appeared to have the highest survival rate in the province at 12.5 per cent. Kingston, Ontario appeared to have the highest incident rate per 100,000 population at 118 - significantly higher than other cities in Ontario.

It is not yet clear exactly what factors contribute to the discrepancies.

"It would be important for every region to start compiling statistics so that we can further understand certain trends and better define the variables," noted Dr. Vaillancourt. "Increased communication will likely translate to increased success."

Another key factor in the study was response times. Despite concerns over paramedic response times in Ottawa, the study determined that Ottawa was in fact quite comparable to other cities across Ontario.

After reviewing the findings, Dr. Vaillancourt said he was struck by how little information was readily available in many areas across Canada.

"Dr. Vaillancourt's work in collecting and publishing such extensive Canadian emergency care data is a real first, but there are still many gaps," said Marc Gay, spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and an emergency medical technician. "Health care professionals, policy makers at all levels of government and organizations like the Heart and Stroke Foundation need to examine and use this information to better coordinate public awareness, bystander CPR, EMS response time, and emergency medical care to give all Canadians a better chance of survival."

Dr. Vaillancourt also worked with Dr. Ian Stiell, another OHRI scientist who was recently featured across Canada for his study on cardiac arrest responses - suggesting that bystander CPR is the best hope of surviving an attack.

The Canadian Cardiovascular Outcomes Research Team (CCORT) was established in 2001, funded by five-year operating grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Interdisciplinary Health Research Team (IHRT) program and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (HSF). CCORT consists of over 30 investigators from five Canadian provinces (Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia) conducting a series of innovative studies to measure and improve the quality of cardiac care provided to Canadians. The CCORT national coordinating centre is located at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Toronto.

For more information, please contact:

Nathalie Trépanier
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(613) 798-5555 ext. 19691
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