Comparison of termination-of-resuscitation guidelines for basic life support: Defibrillator providers in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

  • Ong M
  • Jaffey J
  • Stiell I
 et al. 
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Study objective: Termination of resuscitation in the field for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest can reduce unnecessary transport to hospital and associated road hazards and increase availability of emergency medical services (EMS) and emergency department resources for other patients. We compare the performance of 3 termination-of-resuscitation guidelines for basic life support-defibrillator (BLS) providers when applied to cardiac arrest patients in the Ontario Prehospital Advanced Life Support study. Methods: This prospective cohort study involved all out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients attended by BLS defibrillator providers in 21 Ontario urban or suburban communities. The data analyses were conducted secondarily on these prospectively collected data. Three termination-of-resuscitation guidelines (referred to as Marsden, Petrie, and Verbeek rules) were applied and contingency tables calculated to show the relationship between the rule and actual survival. Results: From 1988 to 2003, 13,684 cardiac arrest patients were attended by BLS defibrillator providers. Six hundred thirty-six (4.7%) patients survived to hospital discharge. For the 3 termination-of-resuscitation rules, sensitivity was 99.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 99.5% to 100.0%) (Petrie rules), 99.5% (95% CI 99.0% to 100.0%) (Verbeek rules), and 99.8% (95% CI 99.5% to 100.0%) (Marsden rules). Specificity was 9.9% (95% CI 9.4% to 10.4%) (Petrie rules), 52.9% (95% CI 52.1% to 53.8%) (Verbeek rules), and 19.4 % (95% CI 18.8% to 20.1%) (Marsden rules). Negative predictive value was 99.9% (95% CI 99.8% to 100.0%) (Petrie rules), 100.0% (95% CI 99.9% to 100.0%) (Verbeek rules), and 100.0% (95% CI 99.9% to 100.0%) (Marsden rules). These rules would have resulted in field termination of resuscitation in 9.4% (Petrie rules), 50.5% (Verbeek rules), and 18.5 % (Marsden rules) of cases. Termination of resuscitation was recommended for 1 patient (Petrie rules), 3 patients (Verbeek rules), and 1 patient (Marsden rules), who survived. Conclusion: We found all 3 termination-of-resuscitation rules to have high sensitivity and negative predictive value. However, the specificity and transport rates varied greatly. The results of this study will be useful for EMS providers considering adoption of termination of resuscitation in BLS defibrillator systems for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Copyright © 2006 by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

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