Acute Coronary Occlusion in Patients With Non-ST-Segment Elevation Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2023 Feb 7;81(5):446-456. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2022.10.039.


Background: According to current guidelines, hemodynamic status should guide the decision between immediate and delayed coronary angiography (CAG) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients without ST-segment elevation. A delayed strategy is advised in hemodynamically stable patients, and an immediate approach is recommended in unstable patients.

Objectives: This study sought to assess the frequency, predictors, and clinical impact of acute coronary occlusion in hemodynamically stable and unstable OHCA patients without ST-segment elevation.

Methods: Consecutive unconscious OHCA patients without ST-segment elevation who were undergoing CAG at Bern University Hospital (Bern, Switzerland) between 2011 and 2019 were included. Frequency and predictors of acute coronary artery occlusions and their impact on all-cause and cardiovascular mortality at 1 year were assessed.

Results: Among the 386 patients, 169 (43.8%) were hemodynamically stable. Acute coronary occlusions were found in 19.5% of stable and 24.0% of unstable OHCA patients (P = 0.407), and the presence of these occlusions was predicted by initial chest pain and shockable rhythm, but not by hemodynamic status. Acute coronary occlusion was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular death (adjusted HR: 2.74; 95% CI: 1.22-6.15) but not of all-cause death (adjusted HR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.44-1.18). Hemodynamic instability was not predictive of fatal outcomes.

Conclusions: Acute coronary artery occlusions were found in 1 in 5 OHCA patients without ST-segment elevation. The frequency of these occlusions did not differ between stable and unstable patients, and the occlusions were associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular death. In OHCA patients without ST-segment elevation, chest pain or shockable rhythm rather than hemodynamic status identifies patients with acute coronary occlusion.

Keywords: coronary angiography; coronary occlusion; death; non–ST-segment elevation; out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation* / adverse effects
  • Chest Pain / etiology
  • Coronary Angiography / adverse effects
  • Coronary Occlusion* / complications
  • Coronary Occlusion* / diagnosis
  • Electrocardiography
  • Humans
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / etiology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest* / therapy
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / adverse effects