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The Capital Region of Denmark - a part of Copenhagen University Hospital

Management of first responder programmes for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe

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  • ESCAPE-NET Investigators
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Aim: First responder (FR) programmes dispatch professional FRs (police and/or firefighters) or citizen responders to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use automated external defibrillators (AED) in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). We aimed to describe management of FR-programmes across Europe in response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Methods: In June 2020, we conducted a cross-sectional survey sent to OHCA registry representatives in 18 European countries with active FR-programmes. The survey was administered by e-mail and included questions regarding management of both citizen responder and FR-programmes. A follow-up question was conducted in October 2020 assessing management during a potential "second wave" of COVID-19.

Results: All representatives responded (response rate = 100%). Fourteen regions dispatched citizen responders and 17 regions dispatched professional FRs (9 regions dispatched both). Responses were post-hoc divided into three categories: FR activation continued unchanged, FR activation continued with restrictions, or FR activation temporarily paused. For citizen responders, regions either temporarily paused activation (n = 7, 50.0%) or continued activation with restrictions (n = 7, 50.0%). The most common restriction was to omit rescue breaths and perform compression-only CPR. For professional FRs, nine regions continued activation with restrictions (52.9%) and five regions (29.4%) continued activation unchanged, but with personal protective equipment available for the professional FRs. In three regions (17.6%), activation of professional FRs temporarily paused.

Conclusion: Most regions changed management of FR-programmes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies are needed to investigate the consequences of pausing or restricting FR-programmes for bystander CPR and AED use, and how this may impact patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
JournalResuscitation plus
Pages (from-to)100075
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

ID: 61833054