The locations of nonresidential out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the City of Pittsburgh over a three-year period: implications for automated external defibrillator placement

Prehosp Emerg Care. Jul-Sep 2001;5(3):247-51. doi: 10.1080/10903120190939724.


Objectives: To determine the locations of nonresidential out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) in the City of Pittsburgh and to determine whether there are "high-risk" locations that might benefit from placement of automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

Methods: This was a retrospective case review of paramedic calls for OHCA over a three-year period, in a mid-sized northeastern city. Cardiac arrests that were traumatic or for which the patients were dead on arrival (DOA) or had advanced directives for no resuscitation were excluded. Cardiac arrests that occurred in a public location (i.e., not a private residence) were categorized.

Results: A total of 971 OHCAs occurred in the City of Pittsburgh from January 1, 1997, to December 31, 1999. Of these, 575 (59%) occurred in private residences, and 396 (41%) occurred in nonresidential locations. Fifteen locations had at least one cardiac arrest per year for three years, accounting for 166 (43%) of the total nonresidential OHCAs. Twelve locations had two arrests during the three-year period, accounting for 24 (6%) of the total nonresidential OHCAs. One hundred ninety-four locations had a single episode of cardiac arrest, accounting for 51% of the OHCAs. Nursing homes and dialysis centers accounted for 178 (94%) OHCAs in the 27 locations that had two or more cardiac arrests. A local sports/events complex (Three Rivers Stadium) was the only other single location to have more than two cardiac arrests in the three-year study period, with a total of three. However, events at this complex are routinely staffed by paramedics equipped with defibrillators.

Conclusion: The majority of nonresidential OHCAs occur as singular, isolated events. Other than nursing homes and dialysis centers, there were no identifiable high-risk locations for nonresidential OHCA within the City of Pittsburgh.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Catchment Area, Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Community Health Planning / methods*
  • Electric Countershock / instrumentation*
  • Electric Countershock / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Heart Arrest / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes
  • Pennsylvania / epidemiology
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / therapy*