Incidence and survival outcome according to heart rhythm during resuscitation attempt in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients with presumed cardiac etiology

Resuscitation. 2017 May:114:157-163. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2016.12.021. Epub 2017 Jan 11.


Background: Knowledge about heart rhythm conversion from non-shockable to shockable rhythm during resuscitation attempt after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and following chance of survival is limited and inconsistent.

Methods: We studied 13,860 patients with presumed cardiac-caused OHCA not witnessed by the emergency medical services from the Danish Cardiac Arrest Register (2005-2012). Patients were stratified according to rhythm: shockable, converted shockable (based on receipt of subsequent defibrillation) and sustained non-shockable rhythm. Multiple logistic regression was used to identify predictors of rhythm conversion and to compute 30-day survival chances.

Results: Twenty-five percent of patients who received pre-hospital defibrillation by ambulance personnel were initially found in non-shockable rhythms. Younger age, males, witnessed arrest, shorter response time, and heart disease were significantly associated with conversion to shockable rhythm, while psychiatric- and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were significantly associated with sustained non-shockable rhythm. Compared to sustained non-shockable rhythms, converted shockable rhythms and initial shockable rhythms were significantly associated with increased 30-day survival (Adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.6, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.8-3.8; and OR 16.4, 95% CI 12.7-21.2, respectively). From 2005 to 2012, 30-day survival chances increased significantly for all three groups: shockable rhythms, from 16.3% (CI: 14.2%-18.7%) to 35.7% (CI: 32.5%-38.9%); converted rhythms, from 2.1% (CI: 1.6%-2.9%) to 5.8% (CI: 4.4%-7.6%); and sustained non-shockable rhythms, from 0.6% (CI: 0.5%-0.8%) to 1.8% (CI: 1.4%-2.2%).

Conclusion: Converting to shockable rhythm during resuscitation attempt was common and associated with nearly a three-fold higher odds of 30-day survival compared to sustained non-shockable rhythms.

Keywords: Arrhythmia; Converted rhythm; Defibrillation; Epidemiology; Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest; Survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation / methods*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications*
  • Comorbidity
  • Electric Countershock / methods*
  • Electric Countershock / mortality
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / classification
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / mortality*
  • Registries
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome