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Epidemiology, management and survival outcomes of adult out-of-hospital traumatic cardiac arrest due to blunt, penetrating or burn injury


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.

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