A construction crane sits atop a highrise building in Toronto on Saturday, February 4, 2012. A new Ontario study shows there’s a downside to living on the upper floors of highrise apartments and condominiums for those who suffer a cardiac arrest.

A construction crane sits atop a highrise building in Toronto on Saturday, February 4, 2012. A new Ontario study shows there’s a downside to living on the upper floors of highrise apartments and condominiums for those who suffer a cardiac arrest.
Photo Credit: PC / Pawel Dwulit

Living above third floor reduces chances of surviving cardiac arrest, Canadian study suggests


While you might enjoy a better view from upper floor apartments, your chances of surviving a cardiac arrest get lower the higher you live, according to a new Canadian study.

The study published on Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) examined five years of health data from the City of Toronto and Peel Regions, which were selected because of high population density and prevalence of high-rise residential buildings.

Researchers led by Ian Drennan, a paramedic with York Region’s paramedic services and a researcher with Rescu, based at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto wanted to see how “vertical delay to patient contact” affects survival rates in cases of cardiac arrest – when the heart suddenly stops beating.

(click to listen to the interview with Ian Drenner)


“As the number of high-rise buildings continues to increase and as population density rises in major urban centres, is important to determine the effect of delays to patient care in high-rise buildings on survival after cardiac arrest and to examine potential barriers to patient care in this setting,” said the study.

Drennan and his co-authors examined nearly 8,000 cases of cardiac arrest between 2006 and 2011 that occurred in private residences, including high-rise apartment buildings, houses and townhouses.

“With a rapidly deteriorating heart rhythm, and in the absence of defibrillation, cardiac arrests occurring on higher floors had a lower probability of survival because of the delay to patient contact by 911-initiated first responders,” said the study.

Those who lived on the ground or second floor fared best in the study. The data showed 4.2 per cent of them survived and were discharged from hospital. But survival dipped to 2.6 per cent for patients on or above the third floor. Above the 16th floor, the survival rate was “negligible” — 0.9 per cent.

There were no survivors among patients who went into cardiac arrest on or above the 25th floor.

Locked front doors, missing security staff and busy elevators lead to fatal delays where every second counts.

Another reason for decrease in survival rates in high-rise buildings were delays in getting the patient from his apartment to the ambulance and to hospital.

“There are prolonged periods during the extrication to the ambulance and en route to the hospital when the quality of CPR is suboptimal,” the study said. “As the patient is carried down stairs or is transported in an elevator, there is a shift in focus from providing continuous, high-quality CPR to removing the patient from the scene and getting him or her to the hospital quickly and safely. These disruptions in care could have a detrimental effect on patient outcome.”

Categories: Health, Society
Tags: , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.