Prehospital traumatic cardiac arrest: Management and outcomes from the resuscitation outcomes consortium epistry-trauma and PROPHET registries

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2016 Aug;81(2):285-93. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000001070.


Background: Traumatic arrests have historically had poor survival rates. Identifying salvageable patients and ideal management is challenging. We aimed to (1) describe the management and outcomes of prehospital traumatic arrests; (2) determine regional variation in survival; and (3) identify Advanced Life Support (ALS) procedures associated with survival.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of cases from the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Epistry-Trauma and Prospective Observational Prehospital and Hospital Registry for Trauma (PROPHET) registries. Patients were included if they had a blunt or penetrating injury and received cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine the association between ALS procedures and survival.

Results: We included 2,300 patients who were predominately young (Epistry mean [SD], 39 [20] years; PROPHET mean [SD], 40 [19] years), males (79%), injured by blunt trauma (Epistry, 68%; PROPHET, 67%), and treated by ALS paramedics (Epistry, 93%; PROPHET, 98%). A total of 145 patients (6.3%) survived to hospital discharge. More patients with blunt (Epistry, 8.3%; PROPHET, 6.5%) vs. penetrating injuries (Epistry, 4.6%; PROPHET, 2.7%) survived. Most survivors (81%) had vitals on emergency medical services arrival. Rates of survival varied significantly between the 12 study sites (p = 0.048) in the Epistry but not PROPHET (p = 0.14) registries.Patients in the PROPHET registry who received a supraglottic airway insertion or intubation experienced decreased odds of survival (adjusted OR, 0.27; 95% confidence interval, 0.08-0.93; and 0.37; 95% confidence interval, 0.17-0.78, respectively) compared to those receiving bag-mask ventilation. No other procedures were associated with survival.

Conclusions: Survival from traumatic arrest may be higher than expected, particularly in blunt trauma and patients with vitals on emergency medical services arrival. Although limited by confounding and statistical power, no ALS procedures were associated with increased odds of survival.

Level of evidence: Prognostic study, level IV.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / etiology*
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / mortality
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / complications*