Introduction: There are inconsistent data about the effectiveness of prehospital physician-staffed advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) on the outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Furthermore, the relative importance of bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (BCPR) and ACLS and the effectiveness of their combination have not been clearly demonstrated.
Methods: Using a prospective, nationwide, population-based registry of all OHCA patients in Japan, we enrolled 95,072 patients whose arrests were witnessed by bystanders and 23,127 patients witnessed by emergency medical service providers between 2005 and 2007. We divided the bystander-witnessed arrest patients into Group A (ACLS by emergency life-saving technicians without BCPR), Group B (ACLS by emergency life-saving technicians with BCPR), Group C (ACLS by physicians without BCPR) and Group D (ACLS by physicians with BCPR). The outcome data included 1-month survival and neurological outcomes determined by the cerebral performance category.
Results: Among the 95,072 bystander-witnessed arrest patients, 7,722 (8.1%) were alive at 1 month, including 2,754 (2.9%) with good performance and 3,171 (3.3%) with vegetative status or worse. BCPR occurred in 42% of bystander-witnessed arrests. In comparison with Group A, the rates of good-performance survival were significantly higher in Group B (odds ratio (OR), 2.23; 95% confidence interval, 2.05 to 2.42; P < 0.01) and Group D (OR, 2.80; 95% confidence interval, 2.28 to 3.43; P < 0.01), while no significant difference was seen for Group C (OR, 1.18; 95% confidence interval, 0.86 to 1.61; P = 0.32). The occurrence of vegetative status or worse at 1 month was highest in Group C (OR, 1.92; 95% confidence interval, 1.55 to 2.37; P < 0.01).
Conclusions: In this registry-based study, BCPR significantly improved the survival of OHCA with good cerebral outcome. The groups with BCPR and ACLS by physicians had the best outcomes. However, receiving ACLS by physicians without preceding BCPR significantly increased the number of patients with neurologically unfavorable outcomes.