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Acad Emerg Med. 2005 Jan;12(1):65-70.

Termination of resuscitative efforts for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

Author information

1
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA. eckstein@usc.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine the rate of termination of resuscitative efforts for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients and whether variability exists among different base hospitals providing online medical control (OLMC).

METHODS:

This was an observational one-year study that included all adult patients in the city of Los Angeles with nontraumatic, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests with attempted resuscitative efforts by paramedics. OLMC was provided by 13 base hospitals. The main outcome measure was the incidence of termination of resuscitative efforts on scene as directed by OLMC.

RESULTS:

Of 1,700 patients, 151 (9%) had resuscitative efforts terminated on scene via direction by OLMC. Patients pronounced on scene were statistically more likely to be older, be found in an extended care facility, have an unwitnessed arrest, and present in asystole. Two base hospitals were more likely to terminate resuscitative efforts via OLMC than all others. Incidence at base hospital A was 37% (odds ratio, 18.6; 95% confidence interval = 11.7 to 30.0; p < 0.0001); incidence at base hospital B was 14% (odds ratio, 3.3; 95% confidence interval = 1.9 to 5.5; p < 0.0001), and incidence at all other base hospitals was 5%. Cardiac arrest patients handled by base hospital A were more likely to be found in ventricular fibrillation; those patients handled by base hospital B had shorter emergency medical services response times and were more likely to be found in an extended care facility. All other characteristics of cardiac arrest patients were not significantly different among the base hospitals.

CONCLUSIONS:

There is significant variability in Los Angeles, depending on the particular base hospital that provides OLMC, in pronouncement of death and termination of resuscitative efforts for medical cardiac arrest in the field. Given potential ethical, logistical, and economic concerns, efforts to assure consistency in the practice of discontinuing resuscitative efforts in the field is warranted.

PMID:
15635140
DOI:
10.1197/j.aem.2004.07.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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