National Institutes of Health Investment into Cardiac Arrest Research: a study for the CARES Surveillance Group

Author Department

Emergency Medicine

Document Type

Article, Peer-reviewed

Publication Date



Objective: To calculate and compare the National Institutes of Health (NIH) research investment for cardiac arrest (CA) to other leading causes of disability-adjusted life years (DALY) in the United States (U.S.).

Methods: A search within NIH RePORTER for 2017 was performed using single common resuscitation terms. Grants were individually reviewed and categorized as CA research (yes/no) using predefined criteria. DALY were calculated as the sum of years of life lost (YLL) and years lived with disability (YLD) using all adult non-traumatic out-of-hospital CA (OHCA) from the CARES database for 2017. Total DALY for the study population were extrapolated to a national level. Leading causes of DALY were obtained from the Global Burden of Disease study and funding data were extracted from the NIH Categorical Spending Report for comparison. The outcome measure was U.S. dollars invested per annual DALY.

Results: The search yielded 290 grants, of which 87 (30%) were classified as CA research. Total funding for CA research in 2017 was $37.1M. A total of 73,915 (97%) cases from CARES met study inclusion criteria for the DALY analysis. The total DALY following adult OHCA in the U.S. population were 4,335,949 (YLL 4,332,166, YLD 3,784). Per annual DALY, the NIH invested $287 for diabetes, $92 for stroke, $55 for ischemic heart disease, and $9 for CA research.

Conclusion: The NIH investment into CA research is far less than other comparable causes of death and disability in the U.S. These results should help inform utilization of limited resources to improve public health.

Keywords: Disability-adjusted Life Years; National Institutes of Health; Research Funding; cardiac arrest.