Cardiac arrest in private locations: different strategies are needed to improve outcome

Resuscitation. 2003 Aug;58(2):171-6. doi: 10.1016/s0300-9572(03)00118-7.


Background: A tremendous amount of public resources are focused on improving cardiac arrest (OHCA) survival in public places, yet most OHCAs occur in private residences.

Methods and results: A prospective, observational study of patients transported to seven urban and suburban hospitals and the individuals who called 911 at the time of a cardiac arrest (bystander) was performed. Bystanders (N=543) were interviewed via telephone beginning 2 weeks after the incident to obtain data regarding patient and bystander demographics, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Of all arrests 80.2% were in homes. Patients who arrested in public places were significantly younger (63.2 vs. 67.2, P<0.02), more often had an initial rhythm of VF (63.0 vs. 37.7%, P<0.001), were seen or heard to have collapsed by a bystander (74.8 vs. 48.1%, P<0.001), received bystander CPR (60.2 vs. 28.6%, P<0.001), and survived to DC (17.5 vs. 5.5%, P<0.001). Patients who arrested at home were older and had an older bystander (55.4 vs. 41.3, P<0.001). The bystander was less likely to be CPR trained (65.0 vs. 47.4%, P<0.001), less likely to be trained within the last 5 years (49.2 vs. 17.9, P<0.001), and less likely to perform CPR if trained (64.2 vs. 30.0%, P<0.001). Collapse to shock intervals for public versus home VF patients were not different.

Conclusions: Many important characteristics of cardiac arrest patients and the bystander differ in public versus private locations. Fundamentally different strategies are needed to improve survival from these events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation* / education
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation* / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Medical Service Communication Systems
  • Heart Arrest* / epidemiology
  • Heart Arrest* / mortality
  • Humans
  • Observation
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Time Factors