OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study is to describe the demographics of reported traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA) victims, prehospital resuscitation and survival to hospital rate.
SETTING: Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) in south-east England, covering a resident population of 4.5 million and a transient population of up to 8 million people.
PARTICIPANTS: Patients reported on the initial 999 call to be in suspected traumatic cardiac arrest between 1 July 2016 and 31 December 2016 within the trust's geographical region were identified. The inclusion criteria were all cases of reported TCA on receipt of the initial emergency call. Patients were subsequently excluded if a medical cause of cardiac arrest was suspected.
OUTCOME MEASURES: Patient records were analysed for actual presence of cardiac arrest, prehospital resuscitation procedures undertaken and for survival to hospital rates.
RESULTS: 112 patients were reported to be in TCA on receipt of the 999/112 call. 51 (46%) were found not to be in TCA on arrival of emergency medical services. Of the 'not in TCA cohort', 34 (67%) received at least one advanced prehospital medical intervention (defined as emergency anaesthesia, thoracostomy, blood product transfusion or resuscitative thoracotomy). Of the 61 patients in actual TCA, 10 (16%) achieved return-of-spontaneous circulation. In 45 (88%) patients, the HEMS team escorted the patient to hospital.
CONCLUSION: A significant proportion of patients reported to be in TCA on receipt of the emergency call are not in actual cardiac arrest but are critically unwell requiring advanced prehospital medical intervention. Early activation of an enhanced care team to a reported TCA call allows appropriate advanced resuscitation. Further research is warranted to determine which interventions contribute to improved TCA survival.
- emergency medical dispatch
- Cardiac arrest
- Observational Study