Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is a leading cause of global mortality. Regional variations in reporting frameworks and survival mean the exact burden of OHCA to public health is unknown. Nevertheless, overall prognosis and neurological outcome are relatively poor following OHCA and have remained almost static for the past three decades. In this Series paper, we explore the aetiology of OHCA. Coronary artery disease remains the predominant cause, but there is a diverse range of other potential cardiac and non-cardiac causes to be aware of. Additionally, we describe how investigators and key stakeholders in resuscitation science have formulated specific Utstein data element domains in an attempt to standardise the definitions and outcomes reported in OHCA research so that management pathways can be improved. Finally, we identify the predictors of survival after OHCA and what primary and secondary prevention strategies can be instigated to mitigate the devastating sequelae of this growing public health issue.
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