Annual Incidence of Adult and Pediatric In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest in the United States

Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2019 Jul 9;12(7):e005580.


Background: Previous incidence estimates may no longer reflect the current public health burden of cardiac arrest in hospitalized adult and pediatric patients across the United States. The aim of this study was to estimate the contemporary annual incidence of in-hospital cardiac arrest in adults and children across the United States and to describe trends in incidence between 2008 and 2017.

Methods and results: Using the Get With The Guidelines– Resuscitation registry, we developed a negative binomial regression model to estimate the incidence of index pulseless in-hospital cardiac arrest based on hospital-level characteristics. The model was used to predict the number of in-hospital cardiac arrests in all US hospitals, using data from the American Hospital Association Annual Survey. We performed separate analyses for adult (≥18 years) and pediatric (<18 years) cardiac arrests. Additional analyses were performed for recurrent cardiac arrests and pediatric patients requiring cardiopulmonary resuscitation for poor perfusion (nonpulseless events). The average annual incidence of in-hospital cardiac arrest in the United States was estimated at 292 000 (95% prediction interval, 217 600–503 500) adult and 15 200 pediatric cases, of which 7100 (95% prediction interval, 4400–9900) cases were pulseless cardiac arrests and 8100 (95% prediction interval, 4700–11 500) cases were nonpulseless events. The rate of adult cardiac arrests increased over time, while pediatric events remained more stable. When including both index and recurrent inhospital cardiac arrests, the average annual incidence was estimated at 357 900 (95% prediction interval, 247 100–598 400) adult and 19 900 pediatric cases, of which 8300 (95% prediction interval, 4900–11 200) cases were pulseless cardiac arrests and 11 600 (95% prediction interval, 6400–16 700) cases were nonpulseless events.

Conclusions: There are ≈292 000 adult in-hospital cardiac arrests and 15 200 pediatric in-hospital events in the United States each year. This study provides contemporary estimates of the public health burden of cardiac arrest among hospitalized patients.

Keywords: epidemiology; heart arrest; hospitals; incidence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Heart Arrest / diagnosis
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Inpatients*
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult