Objective: The Calcium for Out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest (COCA) trial was recently conducted and published. This pre-planned sub-study evaluated the effect of calcium in patients with pulseless electrical activity (PEA) including subgroup analyses based on electrocardiographic characteristics potentially associated with hyperkalemia and ischemia.
Methods: Patients aged ≥ 18 years were included if they had a non-traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and received adrenaline. The trial drug consisted of calcium chloride (5 mmol) or saline placebo given after the first, and again after the second, dose of adrenaline for a maximum of two doses. This sub-study analyzed patients with PEA as their last known rhythm prior to receiving the trial drug. Outcomes were return of spontaneous circulation and survival at 30 days.
Results: 104 patients were analyzed. In the calcium group, 9 patients (20 %) achieved return of spontaneous circulation vs 23 patients (39 %) in the placebo group (risk ratio 0.51; 95 %CI 0.26, 1.00). Subgroup analyses based on electrocardiographic characteristics potentially associated with hyperkalemia and ischemia showed similar results. At 30 days, 1 patient (2.2 %) was alive in the calcium group while 8 patients (13.6 %) were alive in the placebo group (risk ratio 0.16; 95 %CI 0.02, 1.26).
Conclusion: In adults with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest presenting with PEA, effect estimates suggested harm of calcium administration as compared to placebo but with wide confidence intervals. Results were consistent for patients with electrocardiographic characteristics potentially associated with hyperkalemia and ischemia. The results do not support calcium administration based strictly on electrocardiographic findings seen during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Keywords: Advanced Life Support; Calcium; Cardiac arrest; Electrocardiography; Out-of-hospital.
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