NIH allocates minimal funding to cardiac arrest research

Research that will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Resuscitation Science Symposium in Philadelphia this month suggests the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invests far less money in cardiac arrest research than in research for other conditions, including diabetes, drug-use disorders and ischemic heart disease.

Ryan Coute, DO, an emergency medicine resident at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and colleagues compared the amount of money the NIH awarded for cardiac arrest research in 2016 to amounts awarded for other diseases. The NIH doesn’t report annual funding for cardiac arrest research, he said, so the team drew on disability-adjusted life year (DALY) data from the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival and historical data from the Global Health Data Exchange.

They found that for every year of healthy life lost because of disease, the NIH invests $284 for diabetes, $89 for stroke, $53 for ischemic heart disease and $7 for cardiac arrest research.

“Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States, and more research focused on the resuscitation of cardiac arrest is needed to improve the health and lives of millions of Americans,” Coute said in a release.

The authors said the NIH’s low funding for cardiac arrest research might be the result of a paucity of grants submitted to the agency to study cardiac arrest.

“We hope that our findings will encourage more investigators to submit high-quality research grants to the NIH,” Coute said. “Additionally, our results may help inform funding agencies on how to best utilize limited resources to maximize public health benefit.”

The AHA’s Resuscitation Science Symposium will take place alongside the organization’s annual Scientific Sessions Nov. 16-17 in Philadelphia.