Background: The HEARTSafe Communities program promotes community efforts to improve systems for treating sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The study hypothesis was that the rates of SCA survival to admission, discharge, and discharge with CPC score 1 or 2 are higher in HEARTSafe-designated communities than non-designated communities in Connecticut, USA. Secondary outcomes included bystander CPR and AED application.
Methods: The state Office of EMS supplied a list of towns that are HEARTSafe-designated, and dates of designation. The Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival provided data for all SCA from 2013 to 2017 in the 70 participating towns. For each SCA, it was determined whether the town was HEARTSafe-designated at the time.
Results: Of 2922 SCA cases, 1569 (54%) occurred in towns that were HEARTSafe-designated. Patients in designated towns were 1.15 times more likely to have AEDs applied by bystanders, and 1.15 times more likely to have CPR started by bystanders, than were patients in non-designated towns, but these differences were not significance (p = 0.66 and 0.28). The likelihood of surviving to admission was 1.33 times higher (p = 0.02) in designated towns. The likelihood of surviving to discharge was 1.33 times higher, and of surviving to discharge with CPC 1 or 2 was 1.4 times higher, but these differences were not significant (p = 0.17 and 0.13).
Conclusion: SCA survival rates do not differ between HEARTSafe and non-HEARTSafe communities in Connecticut. SCA patients in HEARTSafe communities are no more likely to receive bystander AED application or bystander CPR.
Keywords: Automated external defibrillator; Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Sudden cardiac arrest.
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