Heart attack survival rates peak in King County


by KING 5 HealthLink


Posted on May 21, 2014 at 1:46 PM

The grand opening of transit's light rail back in July 2009 is a ride Peres Joyner will never forget.

"I realized I needed to get off the train and I did get off the train when the doors opened, walked a few feet and then I collapsed," said Joyner.

His heart had stopped. If it happened somewhere else, he thinks he might not be alive today.

"I grew up in New York and I think the survival rate there is in the single digits, so probably one of the better things I did was move here to the Seattle area 30 years ago," said Joyner.

King County has long been known as the best place to be if you go into cardiac arrest. Now, the survival rates have gotten even higher from 50 percent to 62 percent in just a few years.

The average survival rate for cardiac arrest is only 10 percent.

James Fogarty, Seattle-King County Emergency Medical Services Division Director, said there are many reasons why King County ranks number one in cardiac arrest survival.

It's not just because medics are skilled in high performance CPR and that dispatchers know how to give effective instructions over the phone. Citizens also get involved.

"The early access. The dialing 9-11, the early CPR and the early use of an AED. All three of those links -- 30, 40 years ago were professional standards things," said Fogarty. "Now, they're the citizens."

According to Megan Bloomingdale, Seattle-King County EMS Trainer, AEDs are "super easy" to use. 

"You can't make a mistake with it. You can't mess it up," she said.

Joyner said he cannot express his gratitude for the people who stepped up that day, including the citizen who started CPR on him.

"Because of them I'll get to see my daughter walk across the stage at the University of Washington Law School here next month," said Joyner. "That's something that Medic One Responders have allowed me the opportunity to be here to witness."