Fire department achieves world's best heart attack survival rate
February 29, 2012 · Updated 5:01 PM
Mercer Island Fire Chief Chris Tubbs and other King County fire chiefs received commendations this week for the countywide survival rate of 50 percent (63 of 126) for witnessed cases of ventricular fibrillation (VF) cardiac arrest in 2011.
King County EMS Director Jim Fogarty and Medical Program Director Mickey Eisenberg congratulated the fire departments and dispatchers, emergency medical technicians and paramedics for providing this outstanding level of care to King County residents.
The survival rate from witnessed ventricular fibrillation is an accepted international metric to judge the cardiac arrest performance of a fire department. The 50 percent survival rate in King County in 2011 is not only the highest ever achieved in the county, but also the highest rate recorded worldwide.
Altogether, King County fire departments and paramedic programs treated a total of 841 patients afflicted with various types of cardiac arrest (including VF) during 2011. These efforts translate to 2.5 resuscitation attempts per day. There were 163 survivors among these 841 cases.
"This incredible survival rate is due to many and varied factors, but one undeniable factor is the approach to resuscitation our fire department response crews provide and the skills they maintain," Tubbs said in providing the advance notice of the 2011 finding. "They truly know how to save lives, each and every day."