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Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation within CPR (ECPR) may improve survival for refractory out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We developed a prehospital, emergency department (ED), and hospital-based clinical and educational protocol to improve the key variable of time-to-ECPR (TTE).
In a single urban health region we involved key prehospital, clinical, and administrative stakeholders over a 2-year period, to develop a regional ECPR program with destination to a single urban tertiary care hospital. We developed clear and reproducible inclusion criteria and processes, including measures of program efficiency. We conducted seminars and teaching modules to paramedics and hospital-based clinicians including monthly simulator sessions, and performed detailed reviews of each treated case in the form of report cards. In this before-and-after study we compared patients with ECPR attempted prior to, and after, protocol implementation. The primary outcome was TTE, defined as the time of initial professional CPR to establishment of extracorporeal circulation. We compared the median TTE for patients in the two groups using the Wilcoxon signed rank test.
Four patients were identified prior to the protocol and managed in an ad hoc basis; for nine patients the protocol was utilized. Overall favourable neurological outcomes among ECPR-treated patients were 27%. The median TTE was 136 minutes (IQR 98 - 196) in the pre-protocol group, and 60 minutes (IQR 49 - 81) minutes in the protocol group (p=0.0165).
An organized clinical and educational protocol to initiate ECPR for patients with OHCA is feasible and significantly reduces the key benchmark of time-to-ECPR flows.
Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR), while resource-intensive, may improve outcomes in selected patients with refractory out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We sought to identify patients who fulfilled a set of ECPR criteria in order to estimate: (1) the proportion of patients with refractory cardiac arrest who may have benefited from ECPR; and (2) the outcomes achieved with conventional resuscitation.
We performed a secondary analysis from a 52-month prospective registry of consecutive adult non-traumatic OHCA cases from a single urban Canadian health region serving one million patients. We developed a hypothetical ECPR-eligible cohort including adult patients <60 years of age with a witnessed OHCA, and either bystander CPR or EMS arrival within five minutes. The primary outcome was the proportion of ECPR-eligible patients who had refractory cardiac arrest, defined as termination of resuscitation pre-hospital or in the ED. The secondary outcome was the proportion of EPCR-eligible patients who survived to hospital discharge.
Of 1,644 EMS-treated OHCA, 168 (10.2%) fulfilled our ECPR criteria. Overall, 54/1644 (3.3%; 95% CI 2.4%-4.1%) who were ECPR-eligible had refractory cardiac arrest. Of ECPR-eligible patients, 114/168 (68%, 95% CI 61%-75%) survived to hospital admission, and 70/168 (42%; 95% CI 34-49%) survived to hospital discharge.
In our region, approximately 10% of EMS-treated cases of OHCA fulfilled our ECPR criteria, and approximately one-third of these (an average of 12 patients per year) were refractory to conventional resuscitation. The integration of an ECPR program into an existing high-performing system of care may have a small but clinically important effect on patient outcomes.
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