Posted on 08/22/2012

London has the best cardiac arrest survival rate in England, newly-released figures suggest. During 2011-12, the out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate in London was 31.7% - a figure that includes footballer Fabrice Muamba's case. That compares with second placed East of England with 24.4% and a low of 10.8% in the South Central region. It is the first time all emergency medical services (EMS) in England have measured the survival rate. The figures were submitted to the Department of Health for collation.

Erica Payet, 25, was one of those who survived cardiac arrest in London. She was jogging along Bermondsey Street, Southwark, with her boyfriend on a Sunday afternoon in March when she collapsed and stopped breathing. A passer-by called 999 and motorcycle paramedics were on the scene within five minutes to find bystanders already performing basic life support. EMS staff attached defibrillator pads to Payet and shocked her heart to restart it. An ambulance crew took her to St Thomas' Hospital for further treatment. She regained consciousness after a week and spent a further two weeks in hospital before being discharged home with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

Payet, who is studying for a masters degree at King's College University, had suffered no previous heart problems and there is no history of it in her family. The hospital ran tests, but the cause of her cardiac arrest is unknown. She said: "I was really lucky to be in a busy street with medical people around. Otherwise I might not be here. They brought me back."

London Ambulance Service medical director Fiona Moore said: "We are delighted with these figures. We've been tracking these figures since 1998--and when we started the figure was about 4%. We've seen a year-on-year improvement, which is fantastic."

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service said: "SCAS is aware of the real challenges that exist for all English ambulance services in obtaining reliable data on survival rates from cardiac arrest after patients are discharged from hospital. This means it's hard to make direct performance comparisons until each ambulance service is able to get robust data back from all hospitals. SCAS is very focused on ensuring that we work together with our partners in all our emergency departments to continue to improve cardiac arrest survival rates."