Study objective

We assess survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest after community-wide implementation of 2005 American Heart Association guidelines.



This was an observational multiphase before-after cohort in an urban/suburban community (population 840,000) with existing advanced life support. Included were all adults treated for cardiac arrest by emergency responders. Excluded were patients younger than 16 years and trauma patients. Intervention phases in months were baseline 16; phase 1, new cardiopulmonary resuscitation 12; phase 2, impedance threshold device 6; and phase 3, full implementation including out-of-hospital-induced hypothermia 12. Primary outcome was survival to discharge. Other survival and neurologic outcomes were compared between study phases, and adjusted odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for survival by phase were determined by multivariate regression.



One thousand three hundred sixty-five cardiac arrest patients were eligible for inclusion: baseline n=425, phase 1 n=369, phase 2 n=161, phase 3 n=410. Across phases, patients had similar demographic, clinical, and emergency medical services characteristics. Overall and witnessed ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia survival improved throughout the study phases: respectively, baseline 4.2% and 13.8%, phase 1 7.3% and 23.9%, phase 2 8.1% and 34.6%, and phase 3 11.5% and 40.8%. The absolute increase for overall survival from baseline to full implementation was 7.3% (95% CI 3.7% to 10.9%); witnessed ventricular fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia survival was 27.0% (95% CI 13.6% to 40.4%), representing an additional 25 lives saved annually in this community.



In the context of a community-wide focus on resuscitation, the sequential implementation of 2005 American Heart Association guidelines for compressions, ventilations, and induced hypothermia significantly improved survival after cardiac arrest. Further study is required to clarify the relative contribution of each intervention to improved survival outcomes.