Incidence of re-arrest and critical events during prolonged transport of post-cardiac arrest patients

Resuscitation. 2010 Aug;81(8):938-42. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2010.04.012. Epub 2010 May 21.


Aim: To determine the feasibility of transporting post-cardiac arrest patients to tertiary-care facilities, the rate of re-arrest, and the rate of critical events during critical care transport team (CCTT) care.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of cardiac arrest patients transported via CCTT between 1/1/2001 and 5/31/2009. Demographic information, re-arrest, and critical events during transport were abstracted. We defined critical events as hypotension (systolic blood pressure<90mmHg), hypoxia (oxygen saturation<90%), or both hypotension and hypoxia at any time during CCTT care. Comparisons were performed using Chi-squared test and a Cox proportional hazards model was employed to determine predictors of events.

Results: Of the 248 patients studied, the majority was male (61%), presented in ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia (VF/VT, 50%), and comatose (80%). Re-arrest was uncommon (N=15; 6%). Critical events affected 58 patients (23%) during transport. Median transport time was 63min (IQR 51, 81) in both those who experienced a critical event and those who did not. Vasopressor use was associated with any decompensation during CCTT (Hazard Ratio 1.81; 95%CI 1.29, 2.54). Three patients (20%) suffering re-arrest survived to hospital discharge. Survival (Chi square 11.77; p<0.01) and good neurologic outcome (Chi square 5.93; p=0.01) were higher in patients who did not suffer any event during transport.

Conclusions: Transport of resuscitated cardiac arrest patients to a tertiary-care facility via CCTT is feasible, and the duration of transport is not associated with re-arrest during transport. Repeat cardiac arrest occurs infrequently, while critical events are more common. Outcomes are worse in those experiencing an event.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Heart Arrest / therapy
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Transportation of Patients / methods*
  • United States / epidemiology