King County heart attack survival rate reaches record 52 percent

September 1, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 8 a.m. Sept. 1, 2012

The heart attack survival rate in King County reached a record 52 percent last year — much higher than the heart attack survival rate in other areas, officials announced Aug. 31.

The information arrived in the annual report on the Emergency Medical Services/Medic One system.

“Fast response during traumatic events like a heart attack is critical, and these new findings once again affirm the skill of our dispatchers who take 911 calls and the professionals who provide rapid, high-quality emergency care and transport,” King County Executive Dow Constantine said in a statement.

The report highlights the heart attack survival rate and other milestones.

In 2011, the EMS system in King County responded to 164,690 calls to 911, including 45,220 for advanced life support, the most serious or life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The average medic unit response time improved slightly to 7.5 minutes.

“Our EMS/Medic One system’s success is built on a constant drive to improve health outcomes for King County residents,” Dr. David Fleming, director and health officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County, said in a statement. “We continue to raise the bar for patient survival from cardiac arrest, which is one of the most critical measures of success for any EMS/Medic One system.”

The system is managed by the public health agency’s Emergency Medical Services Division, and relies on a close partnership of local fire departments — including Eastside Fire & Rescue — paramedic agencies, EMS dispatch centers and hospitals.

(EFR — formed in 1999 and headquartered in Issaquah — serves Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish, and fire protection districts 10 and 38.)

In late July, leaders from the county, cities and emergency response agencies recommended a six-year renewal for the countywide EMS/Medic One levy. The existing levy is due to expire Dec. 31, 2013, and the task force urged leaders to put the property tax measure on the ballot again.

The recommendations from a countywide task force should go to Constantine and the council by Sept. 15, and a strategic plan is due to reach the council by Jan. 1.

The council is expected to decide next year whether to put the measure on a 2013 ballot.

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