Caregivers slow to defibrillate

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Cardiac arrest patients are kept waiting too long for defibrillation after a heart attack, a new study shows.

The American Heart Association recommends a shock to the heart within two minutes of cardiac arrest. The study, however, discovered that 30% of patients do not receive adequate treatment from caregivers in time.

If given the proper treatment within two minutes, the chance of surviving a heart attack suffered in a facility is 39%. After the two-minute window, survival rates can drop as low as 15%, the report says. The study tracked defibrillator use in 369 hospitals from 2000 to 2005.