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It always seems so straightforward on TV. You have a cardiac arrest, a handsome doctor rushes to your side, shouts "Clear!" and gives you a couple of zaps to the chest with electricity-generating paddles, and -- ta-da! -- you're back in business. Cue the tears and music.

But in reality, a cardiac arrest is a much more complicated business, and one with considerably more peril than you might realize. One study shows that the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest outside a hospital are slim indeed -- around 1 in 22 (about 1 in 12 if someone tries resuscitation).

However, your chances are also better in some cities than others, according to the study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In fact, if you have to pick a city to have a cardiac arrest in, I'd say Seattle is probably your best bet. For example, 16 percent of people who were treated in Seattle for a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survived, compared with 3 percent in Alabama.

And nearly 40 percent of those with ventricular fibrillation -- a condition in which the heart quivers with uncoordinated contractions but hasn't completely stopped -- survived in Seattle, compared with about 8 percent of those in Alabama. Health.com: 9 secrets to a healthier heart Read full article »

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