Out-of-hospital management of cardiac arrest by basic emergency medical technicians.
The outcome in 126 consecutive patients with nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest was analyzed to determine the effectiveness of a standard ambulance system over 22 months. Therapy was limited to basic life support (that is, administration of oxygen by mask, i.v. fluids, closed-chest massage and artificial respiration) by emergency medical technicians in a community in which less than 1% of the population had been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Analyses of patient data were performed to determine the relations between survival to hospital admission or discharge and 6 variables; response time, prior CPR, initial rhythm, acute myocardial infarction, initial blood pressure and initial pulse. Of 126 patients, 28 (22%) survived to hospital admission and 11 (9%) to hospital discharge. Two patient subgroups had a higher discharge rate: those with an initial rhythm of ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation (7 of 50, 14%), and those with an initial blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mm Hg and a pulse rate of greater than 50 beats/min (3 of 6, 50%). For patients in arrest before ambulance arrival, there was no difference in outcome between those who did or those who did not receive prior CPR. Results of this study can be used as a basis for evaluating and comparing interventions directed toward stabilization of patients during the prehospital phase of cardiac arrest.
Wilson, BH; Severance, HW; Raney, MP; Pressley, JC; McKinnis, RA; Hindman, MC; Smith, M; Wagner, GS
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