Cardiac arrest often strikes seemingly healthy individuals without warning and without regard to age, gender, race, or health status. Representing the third leading cause of death in the United States, cardiac arrest is defined as â€œa severe malfunction or cessation of the electrical and mechanical activity of the heart ... [which] results in almost instantaneous loss of consciousness and collapseâ€. Although the exact number of cardiac arrests is unknown, conservative estimates suggest that approximately 600,000 individuals experience a cardiac arrest in the United States each year.
In June 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its consensus report Strategies to Improve Cardiac Arrest Survival: A Time to Act, which evaluated the factors affecting resuscitation research and outcomes in the United States. Following the release of this report, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was asked to hold a workshop to explore the barriers and opportunities for advancing the IOM recommendations. This publication summarizes the presentations and discussions from the workshop.