Do dispatcher instructions facilitate bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation and improve outcomes in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest? A comparison of family and non-family bystanders

Resuscitation. 2014 Mar;85(3):315-9. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2013.11.013. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


Objectives: Bystander-initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been reported to increase the possibility of survival in patients with out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest (OHCA). We evaluated the effects of CPR instructions by emergency medical dispatchers on the frequency of bystander CPR and outcomes, and whether these effects differed between family and non-family bystanders.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study, using Utstein-style records of OHCA taken in a rural area of Japan between January 2004 and December 2009.

Results: Of the 559 patients with non-traumatic OHCA witnessed by laypeople, 231 (41.3%) were given bystander CPR. More OHCA patients received resuscitation when the OHCA was witnessed by non-family bystanders than when it was witnessed by family members (61.4% vs. 34.2%). The patients with non-family-witnessed OHCA were more likely to be given conventional CPR (chest compression plus rescue breathing) or defibrillation with an AED than were those with family-witnessed OHCA. Dispatcher instructions significantly increased the provision of bystander CPR regardless of who the witnesses were. Neurologically favorable survival was increased by CPR in non-family-witnessed, but not in family-witnessed, OHCA patients. No difference in survival rate was observed between the cases provided with dispatcher instructions and those not provided with the instructions.

Conclusions: Dispatcher instructions increased the frequency of bystander CPR, but did not improve the rate of neurologically favorable survival in patients with witnessed OHCA. Efforts to enhance the frequency and quality of resuscitation, especially by family members, are required for dispatcher-assisted CPR.

Keywords: Bystander resuscitation; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Dispatcher instruction; Out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / standards*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Medical Service Communication Systems*
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome