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First-response treatment after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: a survey of current practices across 29 countries in Europe

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BACKGROUND: In Europe, survival rates after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) vary widely. Presence/absence and differences in implementation of systems dispatching First Responders (FR) in order to arrive before Emergency Medical Services (EMS) may contribute to this variation. A comprehensive overview of the different types of FR-systems used across Europe is lacking.

METHODS: A mixed-method survey and information retrieved from national resuscitation councils and national EMS services were used as a basis for an inventory. The survey was sent to 51 OHCA experts across 29 European countries.

RESULTS: Forty-seven (92%) OHCA experts from 29 countries responded to the survey. More than half of European countries had at least one region with a FR-system. Four categories of FR types were identified: (1) firefighters (professional/voluntary); (2) police officers; (3) citizen-responders; (4) others including off-duty EMS personnel (nurses, medical doctors), taxi drivers. Three main roles for FRs were identified: (a) complementary to EMS; (b) part of EMS; (c) instead of EMS. A wide variation in FR-systems was observed, both between and within countries.

CONCLUSIONS: Policies relating to FRs are commonly implemented on a regional level, leading to a wide variation in FR-systems between and within countries. Future research should focus on identifying the FR-systems that most strongly influence survival. The large variation in local circumstances across regions suggests that it is unlikely that there will be a 'one-size fits all' FR-system for Europe, but examining the role of FRs in the Chain of Survival is likely to become an increasingly important aspect of OHCA research.

TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 16 dec. 2019

ID: 59418814