Aims: Identification of the cause of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is of paramount importance. We investigated the ability of our imaging strategy to provide an early etiological diagnosis of OHCA and the influence of this strategy on ICU survival.
Methods: Retrospective review of a prospectively acquired ICU database (01/2000-12/2010) including all OHCA patients without obvious extracardiac cause, for which an early diagnosis research was conducted (coronary angiography and/or brain and chest CT scan) within 24h after resuscitation. These procedures could be performed separately or be combined, according to a decision algorithm.
Results: Of the 1274 patients admitted after OHCA during this 10-year period, the imaging strategy was applied in 896 patients. Patients who benefited from coronary angiography and/or CT scan were admitted to our ICU after a median delay of 180 [130-220]min after resuscitation. Seven hundred and forty-five coronary angiographies were performed, of which 452 (61%) identified at least one significant coronary lesion deemed responsible for the OHCA. CT-scan was performed in 355 patients and provided a diagnosis in 72 patients (20%), mainly stroke (n=38) and pulmonary embolism (n=19). Overall, this strategy allowed early diagnosis in 524 patients (59%). ICU survival was significantly higher for patients with a diagnosis identified by coronary angiography as compared with CT-scan (43% vs 10%, p<0.001).
Conclusion: The use of an early diagnosis protocol with immediate coronary angiography and/or CT scan provided the etiology of nearly two thirds of OHCA cases. In this large retrospective database, coronary angiography yielded a better diagnostic value than brain and/or chest CT-scan.
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