China's high incidence of sudden cardiac death worrying

Over 540,000 Chinese are killed by sudden cardiac death every year, so doctors are calling for higher awareness and earlier intervention.

Dr Li Yigang, director of Xinhua Hospital's cardiology department, gives a speech for World Heart Day.

Over 540,000 Chinese are killed by sudden cardiac arrest every year, with over 60 percent occurring outside hospitals. 

Raising public awareness and increasing early intervention are important to enhance cardiac death prevention and control, local medical experts said before World Heart Day falls on Friday.

“The treatment for people suffering cardiac arrest is calculated in minutes. There is a 90 percent chance of survival if the person receives defibrillation within one minute. The chance of survival drops to 50 percent if first aid is given in five minutes, and there will be irreversible damage to the brain after the heart stops beating for four to six minutes,” said Dr Li Yigang, director of Xinhua Hospital’s cardiology department. “Those with a history of cardiovascular disease have much higher risk of cardiac arrest.”

Doctors said effective monitoring is useful to identify the risk of sudden cardiovascular emergencies and give earlier intervention to prevent fatal events.

“We suggest people with high risk be fitted with cardiac implantable electronic devices for long-distance and regular monitoring,” Li said. “International studies have shown that implanting such devices can effectively drop the incidence of emergency cardiac situations and reduce the patient’s hospitalization time.”

Industry insiders said such technology has made monitoring easier, and ensured that there is less discomfort to patients since the devices have been made smaller and smaller. 

Technicians are also developing software that will allow for the connection of monitoring data to smart phones for the further convenience of patients and medical staff.

New generation of  cardiac implantable electric devices 

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