The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) Advisory Statement on Education and Resuscitation in 2003 included a hypothetical formula--'the formula for survival' (FfS)--whereby three interactive factors, guideline quality (science), efficient education of patient caregivers (education) and a well-functioning chain of survival at a local level (local implementation), form multiplicands in determining survival from resuscitation. In May 2006, a symposium was held to discuss the validity of the formula for survival hypothesis and to investigate the influence of each of the multiplicands on survival. This commentary combines the output from this symposium with an updated illustration of the three multiplicands in the FfS using rapid response systems (RRS) for medical science, therapeutic hypothermia (TH) for local implementation, and bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for educational efficiency. International differences between hospital systems made it difficult to assign a precise value for the multiplicand medical science using RRS as an example. Using bystander CPR as an example for the multiplicand educational efficiency, it was also difficult to provide a precise value, mainly because of differences between compression-only and standard CPR. The local implementation multiplicand (exemplified by therapeutic hypothermia) is probably the easiest to improve, and is likely to have the most immediate improvement in observed survival outcome in most systems of care. Despite the noted weaknesses, we believe that the FfS will be useful as a mental framework when trying to improve resuscitation outcome in communities worldwide.
Keywords: Cardiac arrest; Formula for survival; Implementation; Outcome.
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