The implementation of a dual dispatch system in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is associated with improved short and long term survival

Eur Heart J Acute Cardiovasc Care. 2014 Dec;3(4):293-303. doi: 10.1177/2048872614532415. Epub 2014 Apr 16.


Aims: To determine the impact of a dual dispatch system, using fire fighters as first responders, in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) on short (30 days) and long term (three years) survival, and, to investigate the potential differences regarding in-hospital factors and interventions between the patient groups, such as the use of therapeutic hypothermia and cardiac catheterization.

Methods and results: OHCAs from 2004 (historical controls) and 2006-2009 (intervention period) were included. During the intervention period, fire fighters equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) were dispatched in suspected OHCA. Logistic regression analyses of outcome data included: the intervention with dual dispatch, sex, age, location, aetiology, witnessed status, bystander-cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first rhythm and therapeutic hypothermia. In total, 2581 OHCAs were included (historical controls n=620, intervention period n=1961). Fire fighters initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation and connected an AED before emergency medical services' arrival in 41% of the cases. The median time from dispatch to arrival of first responder or emergency medical services shortened from 7.7 in the control period to 6.7 min in the intervention period (p<0.001). The 30-day survival improved from 3.9% to 7.6% (p=0.001), adjusted odds ratio 2.8 (confidence interval 1.6-4.9). Survival to three years increased from 2.4% to 6.5% (p<0.001), adjusted odds ratio 3.8 (confidence interval 1.9-7.6). In the logistic regression analysis including in-hospital factors we found no outcome benefit of therapeutic hypothermia.

Conclusions: The implementation of a dual dispatch system using fire fighters in OHCA was associated with increased 30-day and three-year survival. No major differences in the in-hospital treatment were seen between the studied patient groups.

Keywords: Heart arrest; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; defibrillation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiac Catheterization / mortality
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / mortality
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia, Induced / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / mortality
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Treatment Outcome