Strategies to improve survival outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) given a fixed budget: A simulation study

Resuscitation. 2020 Apr:149:39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2020.01.026. Epub 2020 Feb 3.


Background: Our study aimed to identify a strategy that maximizes survival upon hospital discharge or 30-days post out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in Singapore for fixed investments of S$1, S$5, or S$10 million. Four strategies were compared: (1) no additional investment; (2) reducing response time via leasing of more ambulances; (3) increasing number of people trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR); and (4) automated external defibrillators (AED).

Methods: We estimated the effect of ambulance response time, bystander CPR and AED on survival based on Singapore's 2010-2015 OHCA registry data. We simulated the changes in ambulance response times and likelihood of (1) CPR and (2) AED usage as a function of their increased availability, which was then combined with the effect of each factor to determine the increase in survival for each strategy.

Results: Survival given no additional investment was 4.03% (95% CI: 3.96%, 4.10%). The investments in ambulances, CPR training and AEDs for a given budget of S$1M changed survival to 4.03% (95% CI: 3.96%, 4.10%), 4.04% (95% CI: 3.98%, 4.11%), and 4.44% (95% CI: 4.35%, 4.54%), respectively. This generated 0, 2 and 102 additional life years saved respectively. Given a budget of S$5M or S$10M, 509 or 886 additional life years could be saved, by investing in an additional 10,000 or 20,000 AEDs respectively. The strategies reached a saturation effect whereby improvement in survival was marginal when the budget was increased to ≥S$5M for investment in ambulances and CPR training.

Conclusions: Investing in AEDs had the most gain in survival.

Keywords: Ambulance response time; Automated external defibrillator; Cardiac arrest; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Cost-effectiveness; OHCA; Registry; Simulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Defibrillators
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Humans
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / therapy
  • Singapore / epidemiology