For patients who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, the time from collapse to initial defibrillation is the single most important factor that affects survival to hospital discharge. The purpose of this study was to compare the survival rates of cardiac arrest victims within an institution that has a rapid defibrillation program with those of its own urban community, tiered EMS system.
A logistic regression analysis of a retrospective data series (n = 23) and comparative analysis to a second retrospective data series (n = 724) were gathered for the study period September 1994 to September 1999. The first data series included all persons at Casino Windsor who suffered a cardiac arrest. Data collected included: age, gender, death/survival (neurologically intact discharge), presenting rhythm (ventricular fibrillation (VF), ventricular tachycardia (VT), or other), time of collapse, time to arrival of security personnel, time to initiation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) prior to defibrillation (when applicable), time to arrival of staff nurse, time to initial defibrillation, and time to return of spontaneous circulation (if any). Significantly, all arrests within this series were witnessed by the surveillance camera systems, allowing time of collapse to be accurately determined rather than estimated. These data were compared to those of similar events, times, and intervals for all patients in the greater Windsor area who suffered cardiac arrest. This second series was based upon the Ontario Prehospital Advanced Life Support (OPALS) Study database, as coordinated by the Clinical Epidemiology Unit of the Ottawa Hospital, University of Ottawa.
The Casino Windsor had 23 cases of cardiac arrests. Of the cases, 13 (56.5%) were male and 10 (43.5%) were female. All cases (100%) were witnessed. The average of the ages was 61.1 years, of the time to initial defibrillation was 7.7 minutes, and of the time for EMS to reach the patient was 13.3 minutes. The presenting rhythm was VF/VT in 91% of the case. Fifteen patients were discharged alive from hospital for a 65% survival rate. The Greater Windsor Study area included 668 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: Of these, 410 (61.4%) were male and 258 (38.6%) were female, 365 (54.6%) were witnessed, and 303 (45.4%) were not witnessed. The initial rhythm was VF/VT was in 34.3%. Thirty-seven (5.5%) were discharged alive from the hospital.
This study provides further evidence that PAD Programs may enhance cardiac arrest survival rates and should be considered for any venue with large numbers of adults as well as areas with difficult medical access.