Cardiac arrest in the Emergency Department: a report from the National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Resuscitation. 2008 Aug;78(2):151-60. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2008.03.007. Epub 2008 May 27.


Background: Little is known about cardiac arrests (CA) in the Emergency Department (ED). The objective of this study was to determine the characteristics of ED CAs.

Methods: 60,852 adult, in-patient CA events in the National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation were included. Multiple regression analysis compared ED CA with those occurring in the ICU, telemetry, or general floors. Subgroup analysis examined traumatic vs. non-traumatic ED CA and ED CA occurring after a successful pre-hospital resuscitation (recurrent) vs. primary ED event.

Results: In multivariate analysis, ED location predicted improved survival to discharge (OR 0.74, 95%CI [0.67-0.82]). ED CAs had higher survival to discharge rates (ED 22.2, ICU 15.5, Tele 19.8, Floor 10.8, p<0.0001), better cerebral performance category scores (ED 1.59, ICU 1.73, Tele 1.96, Floor 1.69, p<0.0001), and shorter post-event length of stays (ED 8.6, ICU 17.5, Tele 16.5, Floor 14.2 days, p<0.0001) than other locations. Recurrent ED CAs were less likely to survive to discharge (10.1% vs. 24.6%, p<0.0001) than primary events. Trauma-related ED CAs had a lower survival to discharge rate (7.5% vs. 23.8%, p<0.0001), were less likely to be caused by an arrhythmia (23.6% vs. 32.5%, p<0.0008), and more likely to be preceded by hypotension or shock (41.6% vs. 29.0%, p<0.0001) than non-trauma ED events.

Conclusions: ED CAs have unique characteristics, and better survival and neurologic outcomes compared to other hospital locations. Primary ED CAs have a better chance of survival to discharge than recurrent events. Traumatic ED CAs have worse outcomes than non-traumatic CA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Heart Arrest / etiology
  • Heart Arrest / therapy
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Telemetry
  • United States / epidemiology