Living on a higher floor means a person has a smaller chance of surviving cardiac arrest, according to the authors of a new study. Researchers believe this effect is caused by the extra time it takes emergency personnel to reach the patient.

The study examined data from over 8,000 adults who suffered out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the Toronto area between 2007 and 2012. They found people living below the third floor had a survival rate of 4.2 per cent. However the survival rate was only 2.6 per cent for individuals living above the third floor.

On the sixteenth floor or higher the survival rate was less than one per cent, and there were no survivors past the twenty-fifth floor.

Original research paper published in the CMAJ on January 18, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected author

Ian Drennan, Rescu, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, and Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, and Centre for Prehospital Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario