• Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

    by Alan Batt. Last modified: 16/06/15

    bystander

     

     
    Hasselqvist-Ax I1, Riva G, Herlitz J, Rosenqvist M, Hollenberg J, Nordberg P, Ringh M, Jonsson M, Axelsson C, Lindqvist J, Karlsson T, Svensson L. Early cardiopulmonary resuscitation in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. N Engl J Med. 2015 Jun 11;372(24):2307-15. PMID: 26061835.

    Abstract

    Background

    Three million people in Sweden are trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Whether this training increases the frequency of bystander CPR or the survival rate among persons who have out-of-hospital cardiac arrests has been questioned.

    Methods

    We analyzed a total of 30,381 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests witnessed in Sweden from January 1, 1990, through December 31, 2011, to determine whether CPR was performed before the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS) and whether early CPR was correlated with survival.

    Results

    CPR was performed before the arrival of EMS in 15,512 cases (51.1%) and was not performed before the arrival of EMS in 14,869 cases (48.9%). The 30-day survival rate was 10.5% when CPR was performed before EMS arrival versus 4.0% when CPR was not performed before EMS arrival (P<0.001). When adjustment was made for a propensity score (which included the variables of age, sex, location of cardiac arrest, cause of cardiac arrest, initial cardiac rhythm, EMS response time, time from collapse to call for EMS, and year of event), CPR before the arrival of EMS was associated with an increased 30-day survival rate (odds ratio, 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.88 to 2.45). When the time to defibrillation in patients who were found to be in ventricular fibrillation was included in the propensity score, the results were similar. The positive correlation between early CPR and survival rate remained stable over the course of the study period. An association was also observed between the time from collapse to the start of CPR and the 30-day survival rate.

    Conclusions

    CPR performed before EMS arrival was associated with a 30-day survival rate after an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest that was more than twice as high as that associated with no CPR before EMS arrival. (Funded by the Laerdal Foundation for Acute Medicine and others.).

    Editor’s Note:

    This is a retrospective registry review, which cannot show a causative relationship. However, it does show a correlative association between early CPR and survival. This does not mean however that correlations cannot indicate the potential existence of causal relations. Correlations are useful because they can indicate a predictive relationship that can be exploited in practice. Running a randomised controlled trial where one group of cardiac arrests are denied CPR and the other group receive it would be highly unethical, and thus we rely heavily on registry data when it comes to resuscitation outcomes.

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    Alan Batt

    Alan Batt

    Paramedic, educator, researcher
    Alan is a critical care paramedic, paramedic educator and prehospital researcher, currently working around the world as an educator and researcher. He has previously worked and studied across Europe, North America and the Middle East. He holds a Graduate Certificate in Intensive Care Paramedic Studies, and an MSc in Critical Care. His main interests are in care of the elderly, end-of-life care, patient safety, professionalism (including role and identity), and paramedic education.

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