Background: Whether outcome from in-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is poorer when it occurs during the night remains controversial. This study examined the relationship between CPR during the various hospital shifts and survival to discharge.
Methods: CPR attempts occurring in a tertiary hospital with a dedicated, certified resuscitation team were recorded prospectively (Utstein template guidelines) over 24 months. Medical records and patient characteristics were retrieved from patient admission files.
Results: Included were 174 in-hospital cardiac arrests; 43%, 32% and 25% in morning evening and night shifts, respectively. Shift populations were comparable in demographic and treatment related variables. Asystole (p < 0.01) and unwitnessed arrests (p = 0.05) were more common during the night. Survival to discharge was poorer following night shift CPR than following morning and evening shift CPR (p = 0.04). When asystole (being synonymous with death) was excluded from the analysis, the odds of survival to discharge was not higher for witnessed compared to unwitnessed arrest but was 4.9 times higher if the cardiac arrest did not occur during the night shift (p = 0.05, logistic regression). The relative risk of eventual in-hospital death for patients with return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) following night shift resuscitation was 1.9 that of those with ROSC following morning or evening resuscitation (Cox regression).
Conclusions: Although unwitnessed arrest is more prevalent during night shift, resuscitation during this shift is associated with poorer outcomes independently of witnessed status. Further research is required into the causes for the increased mortality observed after night shift resuscitation.