Cardiac arrest survival rate tops in Ottawa

Ottawa leads the pack when it comes to saving lives with defibrillators - the survival rate is double that of other Canadian cities.

If you're going to have a heart attack in Ontario, your chances of surviving such an occurrence outside of the hospital is best in Ottawa, says the city's top paramedic Anthony DiMonte.

"We're over 12 per cent, we're more than double the Ontario average," said DiMonte during a presentation to city hall Thursday. "From being one of the worst communities to have a cardiac arrest in, you're now sitting in a community that's probably one of the best."

Before the city began installing defibrillators in its public recreation centres, the chances of surviving a heart attack before paramedics arrived was just two per cent.

But now there are more than 800 automated external defibrillators in the city.

André Coriveau is one person who has benefited from public access to such life-saving devices as his life was saved by a city employee after Coriveau had a heart attack playing hockey.  

"Here I am skating around, and for a second or two the lights went out and I still don't know what's going on," Coriveau said.

Last September, a 23-year-old man at the University of Ottawa went into Cardiac arrest and some fellow students restarted his heart with a nearby defibrillator.    

But Micheline Turneau with the Heart and Stroke Foundation said more can be done by encouraging other places to install the defibrillators.

"It's worth focusing on private locations, so private organizations, private buildings and trying to advocate for more organizations to get AEDs," she said.