Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Epidemiology, management and survival outcomes of adult out-of-hospital traumatic cardiac arrest due to blunt, penetrating or burn injury
  1. Tan N Doan1,
  2. Daniel Wilson1,
  3. Stephen Rashford1,
  4. Louise Sims1,
  5. Emma Bosley1,2
  1. 1 Queensland Ambulance Service, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 School of Clinical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tan N Doan, Queensland Ambulance Service, Brisbane, QLD 4031, Australia; tan.doan{at}


Background Survival from out-of-hospital traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA) is poor. Regional variation exists regarding epidemiology, management and outcomes. Data on prognostic factors are scant. A better understanding of injury patterns and outcome determinants is key to identifying opportunities for survival improvement.

Methods Included were adult (≥18 years) out-of-hospital TCA due to blunt, penetrating or burn injury, who were attended by Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2019. We compared the characteristics of patients who were pronounced dead on paramedic arrival and those receiving resuscitation from paramedics. Intra-arrest procedures were described for attempted-resuscitation patients. Survival up to 6 months postarrest was reported, and factors associated with survival were investigated.

Results 3891 patients were included; 2394 (61.5%) were pronounced dead on paramedic arrival and 1497 (38.5%) received resuscitation from paramedics. Most arrests (79.8%) resulted from blunt trauma. Motor vehicle collision (42.4%) and gunshot wound (17.7%) were the most common injury mechanisms in patients pronounced dead on paramedic arrival, whereas the most prevalent mechanisms in attempted-resuscitation patients were motor vehicle (31.3%) and motorcycle (20.6%) collisions. Among attempted-resuscitation patients, rates of transport and survival to hospital handover, to hospital discharge and to 6 months were 31.9%, 15.3%, 9.8% and 9.8%, respectively. Multivariable model showed that advanced airway management (adjusted OR 1.84; 95% CI 1.06 to 3.17), intravenous access (OR 5.04; 95% CI 2.43 to 10.45) and attendance of high acuity response unit (highly trained prehospital care clinicians) (OR 2.54; 95% CI 1.25 to 5.18) were associated with improved odds of survival to hospital handover.

Conclusions By including all paramedic-attended patients, this study provides a more complete understanding of the epidemiology of out-of-hospital TCA. Contemporary survival rates from adult out-of-hospital TCA who receive resuscitation from paramedics may be higher than historically thought. Factors identified in this study as associated with survival may be useful to guide prognostication and treatment.

  • epidemiology
  • trauma
  • prehospital care

Data availability statement

No data are available.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Data availability statement

No data are available.

View Full Text


  • Handling editor Jason E Smith

  • Contributors TND, SR and EB conceived the study. TND, DW and LS undertook the data collection. TND performed the statistical analysis of the data. All authors interpreted the data. TND drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed substantially to the revision of the manuscript. All authors have approved the manuscript and agree to be accountable for the work. TND is responsible for the overall content as the guarantor.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.