Background: The objective of this study was to test if caller descriptions of chief complaint delays emergency medical dispatchers' (EMDs) recognition of the need for telephone-assisted CPR (T-CPR).
Methods: We conducted an analysis of N = 433 cardiac arrest calls from six large call centers in the United States. Calls were abstracted for initial chief complaint description: caller reports (1) correct medical condition (CMC); (2) incorrect medical condition (IMC), or (3) signs/symptoms only (SS), as well the time interval between call pickup and recognition of the need for T-CPR. In addition, we abstracted if EMDs asked questions related to the caller's chief complaint (rather than, or before), asking about patients' consciousness and breathing status.
Results: The majority of cardiac arrest calls (60%) were reported as SS. Median time to recognition of the need for T-CPR was 64 s for SS chief complaints, 47 s for CMC chief complaints, and 100 s for IMC chief complaints. EMDs pursued chief complaint descriptions for 9% of the calls with SS chief complaints, 41% of the calls with IMC chief complaints, and 19% of the calls with CMC chief complaints. Median time to recognition of the need for CPR for calls in which the chief complaint description was pursued was 166 s compared to 62 s for calls in which the chief complaint description was not pursued.
Conclusion: Caller chief complaint description affects the time to recognition of the need for T-CPR.
Clinical trial registration: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov Trial # NCT01972087.
Keywords: 9-1-1 Telecommunicator; Cardiac arrest; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Chief complaint; Emergency medical dispatcher; Emergency medical services; Resuscitation; T-CPR.
Published by Elsevier B.V.