Characteristics Associated With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests and Resuscitations During the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic in New York City

JAMA Cardiol. 2020 Oct 1;5(10):1154-1163. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2020.2488.

Abstract

Importance: Risk factors for out-of-hospital death due to novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are poorly defined. From March 1 to April 25, 2020, New York City, New York (NYC), reported 17 118 COVID-19-related deaths. On April 6, 2020, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests peaked at 305 cases, nearly a 10-fold increase from the prior year.

Objective: To describe the characteristics (race/ethnicity, comorbidities, and emergency medical services [EMS] response) associated with outpatient cardiac arrests and death during the COVID-19 pandemic in NYC.

Design, setting, and participants: This population-based, cross-sectional study compared patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest receiving resuscitation by the NYC 911 EMS system from March 1 to April 25, 2020, compared with March 1 to April 25, 2019. The NYC 911 EMS system serves more than 8.4 million people.

Exposures: The COVID-19 pandemic.

Main outcomes and measures: Characteristics associated with out-of-hospital arrests and the outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

Results: A total of 5325 patients were included in the main analysis (2935 men [56.2%]; mean [SD] age, 71 [18] years), 3989 in the COVID-19 period and 1336 in the comparison period. The incidence of nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in those who underwent EMS resuscitation in 2020 was 3 times the incidence in 2019 (47.5/100 000 vs 15.9/100 000). Patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest during 2020 were older (mean [SD] age, 72 [18] vs 68 [19] years), less likely to be white (611 of 2992 [20.4%] vs 382 of 1161 [32.9%]), and more likely to have hypertension (2134 of 3989 [53.5%] vs 611 of 1336 [45.7%]), diabetes (1424 of 3989 [35.7%] vs 348 of 1336 [26.0%]), and physical limitations (2259 of 3989 [56.6%] vs 634 of 1336 [47.5%]). Compared with 2019, the odds of asystole increased in the COVID-19 period (odds ratio [OR], 3.50; 95% CI, 2.53-4.84; P < .001), as did the odds of pulseless electrical activity (OR, 1.99; 95% CI, 1.31-3.02; P = .001). Compared with 2019, the COVID-19 period had substantial reductions in return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) (727 of 3989 patients [18.2%] vs 463 of 1336 patients [34.7%], P < .001) and sustained ROSC (423 of 3989 patients [10.6%] vs 337 of 1336 patients [25.2%], P < .001), with fatality rates exceeding 90%. These associations remained statistically significant after adjustment for potential confounders (OR for ROSC, 0.59 [95% CI, 0.50-0.70; P < .001]; OR for sustained ROSC, 0.53 [95% CI, 0.43-0.64; P < .001]).

Conclusions and relevance: In this population-based, cross-sectional study, out-of-hospital cardiac arrests and deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic significantly increased compared with the same period the previous year and were associated with older age, nonwhite race/ethnicity, hypertension, diabetes, physical limitations, and nonshockable presenting rhythms. Identifying patients with the greatest risk for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and death during the COVID-19 pandemic should allow for early, targeted interventions in the outpatient setting that could lead to reductions in out-of-hospital deaths.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Continental Population Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Disabled Persons / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Medical Services*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / epidemiology*
  • Pandemics
  • Return of Spontaneous Circulation