HealthDay News – A dramatic decrease in cardiac arrest has occurred among Oregon residents who gained access to health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Eric Stecker, MD, MPH, an associate professor of cardiovascular medicine with Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, and colleagues used records from emergency medical services to identify Multnomah County patients treated for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The investigators then compared the information to census data for the pre-ACA years of 2011 to 2012 and post-implementation years of 2014 to 2015.

Uninsured rates in the county dropped by half following ACA implementation, from nearly 16% to lower than 8%, the study authors said. Sudden cardiac arrests declined among middle-aged people as insurance coverage expanded. There were 102 cardiac arrests for every 100,000 people in 2011 to 2012, compared with 85 cases per 100,000 following full implementation of the ACA. Cardiac arrest rates remained stable among residents 65 and older.

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“Based on this pilot study, further investigation in larger populations is warranted and feasible,” the authors wrote.

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Stecker EC, Reinier K, Rusinaru C, Uy-Evanado A, Jui J, Chugh SS. Health insurance expansion and incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a pilot study in a US metropolitan community [published June 28, 2017]. J Am Heart Assoc. doi:10.1161/JAHA.117.005667