HK needs cardiac arrest register, say doctors, as city’s survival rate lags United States and Europe

12-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A register of cardiac arrests that take place outside Hong Kong hospitals would help improve the city’s survival rate, doctors have said.

Doctors writing in the latest issue of the Hong Kong Medical Journal said the survival rate of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the city was low compared with some other countries and places.

“A register would provide data showing what we are not doing well, allowing us to develop measures and make improvements,” said Dr Lui Chun-tat, a consultant in accident and emergency from Tuen Mun Hospital and one of the article’s authors.

More than 5,000 cardiac arrest cases occurred outside hospitals annually in Hong Kong.

A separate local study, published in 2017, found the survival rate was 2.3 per cent. The figure was 8.5 per cent in the United States and 10.3 per cent in Europe.

Doctors believed setting up a citywide register would help raise the survival rate of a condition described as “an important public health burden”.

Lui said the register would require information such as when the patient collapsed, whether there was any resuscitation before the patient was sent to hospital and when ambulance crew arrived. He added that analysis would be required for every step to identify any problems.

The doctors said Hong Kong was “technically ready” to set up such a register due to established methods of documenting medical information in the city’s health care system.

They said an existing electronic ambulance journey record, together with hospital databases, would “provide a feasible infrastructure and backbone” for the register.

“The biggest issue preventing us from proceeding further was we would need to integrate the individual databases of the Fire Services Department and the Hospital Authority,” Lui said.

The city’s ambulance service was mostly provided by the department, while major accident and emergency service was offered in public hospitals, managed by the authority.

Similar registers have been established in Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand to record cardiac arrest cases and develop measures to improve care of people suffering from the condition.

Lui said Japan was one example that successfully improving the survival rate of cardiac arrest cases outside hospitals after the implementation of a register.

More defibrillators were installed in public places after problems had been identified by the register data.

The doctors who wrote the article suggested the government should take the lead in setting up such a register in the city.

“It is not something that could be solely done by hospitals or the Fire Services Department,” Lui said.


Category: Hong Kong

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