The beginning of 2021 was a major challenge for our community and MedStar’s crews. In addition to significant COVID-19 patient volume, we had of course, the major weather issues.
But in January and February MedStar crews also saw a significant spike in cardiac arrest cases with monthly cases up 31% and 35% respectively. Thankfully, March 2021 cardiac arrest cases were only slightly more than last year.
While it may be odd to say, a potential ‘good news’ sign that normalcy may be returning is that MedStar’s response volume for patients our crews indicate are likely having a heart attack is increasing. We were very concerned in 2020 with the decline in daily response volume for potential heart attack victims, fearing people may be afraid to call 9-1-1 and that leading to the increase in cardiac arrest cases.
The median heart attack symptom duration before calling 9-1-1 remains fairly consistent at 2 hours. We recommend calling 9-1-1 as soon as you think you may be experiencing signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
For information on the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, as well as resources to learn CPR, visit: