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Med J Aust. 2006 Aug 7;185(3):135-9.

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Victoria: rural and urban outcomes.

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Rural Ambulance Victoria, Geelong, Victoria.



To compare the survival rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in rural and urban areas of Victoria, and to investigate the factors associated with these differences.


Retrospective case series using data from the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry.


All out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occurring in Victoria that were attended by Rural Ambulance Victoria or the Metropolitan Ambulance Service.


1790 people who suffered a bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest between January 2002 and December 2003.


Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation was more likely in rural (65.7%) than urban areas (48.4%) (P = 0.001). Urban patients with bystander-witnessed cardiac arrest were more likely to arrive at an emergency department with a cardiac output (odds ratio [OR], 2.92; 95% CI, 1.65-5.17; P < 0.001), and to be discharged from hospital alive than rural patients (urban, 125/1685 [7.4%]; rural, 2/105 [1.9%]; OR, 4.13; 95% CI, 1.09-34.91). Major factors associated with survival to hospital admission were distance of cardiac arrest from the closest ambulance branch (OR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.82-0.92), endotracheal intubation (OR, 3.46; 95% CI, 2.49-4.80), and the presence of asystole (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.38-0.67) or pulseless electrical activity (OR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56-0.95) on arrival of the first ambulance crew.


Survival rates differ between urban and rural cardiac arrest patients. This is largely due to a difference in ambulance response time. As it is impractical to substantially decrease response times in rural areas, other strategies that may improve outcome after cardiac arrest require investigation.

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