Background Survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) vary, with figures from 2% to 12% reported nationally. Our ambulance service introduced a dedicated cardiac arrest response unit (CARU) as a trial in order to improve local patient outcomes by focussing training, extending the scope of practice and increasing exposure to cardiac arrests. CARU launched in January 2014 using a rapid response car staffed by senior paramedics responding to cardiac arrests within a 19 minute radius of their location⇓.
Methods This work describes the development and impact of CARU during the initial six months (10/01/14 to 09/07/2014) of operations using prospectively collected data on all cases attended.
Results CARU activated to 165 calls and attended 65% (n=107). 50% (n=54) of the cases attended were cardiac arrests where resuscitation was attempted. Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) was achieved during pre-hospital resuscitation in 52% (n=28) of cases.
Patient outcomes are reported compared with service data for January to June 2014 inclusive and one year of historical data from the regional OHCA registry:
Conclusions Based on these figures CARU appears to have a positive impact on ROSC and a significant impact on survival to discharge rates compared with the rest of the service (p<0.01, Fisher's exact test). Further work is needed to explore how CARU delivers this impact and how the CARU model can be implemented beyond the trial setting in a sustainable fashion.
- emergency department
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