BACKGROUND: Volunteer responder (VR) programs for activation of laypersons in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) have been deployed worldwide, but the optimal number of VRs to dispatch is unknown.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between the number of VRs arriving before Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the proportion of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation.
METHODS: We included OHCAs not witnessed by EMS with VR activation from the Capital Region (September 2, 2017, to May 14, 2019) and the Central Region of Denmark (November 5, 2018, to December 31, 2019). We created 4 groups according to the number of VRs arriving before EMS: 0, 1, 2, and 3 or more. Using a logistic regression model adjusted for EMS response time, we examined associations between the number of VRs arriving before EMS and bystander CPR and defibrillation.
RESULTS: We included 906 OHCAs. The adjusted ORs for bystander CPR were 2.40 (95% CI: 1.42-4.05), 3.18 (95% CI: 1.39-7.26), and 2.70 (95% CI: 1.32-5.52) when 1, 2, or 3 or more VRs arrived before EMS (reference), respectively. The adjusted OR for bystander defibrillation increased when 1 (1.97 [95% CI: 1.12-3.52]), 2 (2.88 [95% CI: 1.48-5.58]), or 3 or more (3.85 [95% CI: 2.11-7.01]) VRs arrived before EMS (reference). The adjusted OR of bystander defibrillation increased to 1.95 (95% CI: 1.18-3.22) when ≥3 VRs arrived first compared with 1 VR arriving first (reference).
CONCLUSIONS: We found an association of increased bystander CPR and defibrillation when 1 or more VRs arrived before the EMS with a trend toward increased bystander defibrillation with increasing number of VRs arriving first.