Here’s a big dose of schadenfreude for your morning, if you are looking up at all those Pikettyscrapers housing the rich in New York, London and Toronto: the higher you are in those buildings, the more likely you are to die of a heart attack.
A recent study, just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, examined the death rate from cardiac arrests and came up with the disturbing results. The study looked at the rate of survival to hospital discharge and found significant differences between living low and living high:
Building access issues, elevator delays and extended distance from the emergency vehicle to the patient can all contribute to longer times for 911-initiated first responders to reach the patient and start time-sensitive, potentially life-saving resuscitation.
And money won’t save you either; according to Dr. Laurie Morrison, another study author, “It doesn’t matter whether you’re poor, middle class or high class, it’s just the vertical that makes a difference.” Morrison notes that above the 25th floor, “They all died. It’s like the higher you go the more isolated you become.”
- Improving the accessibility of AEDs by placing them on specific floors, in building lobbies or inside elevators so that they can be easily delivered to the floor of the cardiac arrest, saving precious minutes and ensuring rapid defibrillation.
- Give paramedics a universal elevator key similar to what firefighters have, giving them sole access to elevators without public interference.
- Find ways to alert building security to the fact 911-initiated first responders are en route so they can have easy access to the building and elevators waiting on the main floor.
With a rapidly deteriorating heart rhythm, in the absence of bystander CPR and defibrillation, cardiac arrests that occurred on higher floors may have a lower probability of survival due to the delay to patient contact by 911-initiated first responders. This early period is essential for bystander interventions by a family member, friend or other willing person to improve survival.”
So yet another reason to build at the Goldilocks Density, or at least to train the doorman in CPR.