Arlington's Heart Attack Survival Tops Nation

City's education and action campaign saves lives

 A new study claims that the odds of surviving cardiac arrest are better in Arlington, Texas, than anywhere else in the nation.

That’s according to a formula known as the Utstein template — the international gold standard for measuring heart attack rates. Arlington currently ranks as having a survival rate of 51 percent based on the formula.

“That's way higher than it ever has been,” admitted Mayor Robert Cluck, a physician by trade.

The measurement used to determine that rate, counts victims as individuals those who had a chance to be saved, survivors are counted as those who leave the hospital without serious brain injury.

In 2005, the city launched CPaRlington, a program that trains everyday people on how to respond to heart attack victims - created with representatives from the American Heart Association, Arlington Fire Department and the University of Texas at Arlington School of Nursing. Thanks to the program, defibrillators were deployed throughout the city, going from less than 100, to more than 200.

Nancy Miller went into cardiac arrest while playing racketball at an Arlington gym last summer. She survived because gym employee Jason Wafford sprang into action.

“Jason did CPR, someone else used the defibrillator. I would be dead - I would still be dead if they hadn't responded with the correct actions,” said Miller.

Those are the sort of skills the city has been teaching citizens - more than 43,000 of them - since 2005, when Arlington's survival rate was less than 51 percent.

“Those first two or three minutes are critical as far as survival is concerned. So that's why we want people to understand if they see a cardiac arrest or suspect one you immediately take action,” said Mayor Cluck.

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