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Factors Impacting Treatment of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Qualitative Study of Emergency Responders.

Missel AL, Dowker SR, Dzierwa D, Krein SL, Coulter-Thompson EI, Williams M, Trumpower B, Swor R, Hunt N, Friedman CP. Factors Impacting Treatment of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Qualitative Study of Emergency Responders. Journal of the American Heart Association. 2023 May 16; 12(10):e027756.

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Background Of the more than 250?000 emergency medical services-treated out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur each year in the United States, only about 8% survive to hospital discharge with good neurologic function. Treatment for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest involves a system of care that includes complex interactions among multiple stakeholders. Understanding the factors inhibiting optimal care is fundamental to improving outcomes. Methods and Results We conducted group interviews with emergency responders including 911 telecommunicators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and transporting emergency medical services personnel (ie, emergency medical technicians and paramedics) who responded to the same out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incident. We used the American Heart Association System of Care as the framework for our analysis to identify themes and their contributory factors from these interviews. We identified 5 themes under the structure domain, which included workload, equipment, prehospital communication structure, education and competency, and patient attitudes. In the process domain, 5 themes were identified focusing on preparedness, field response and access to patient, on-scene logistics, background information acquisition, and clinical interventions. We identified 3 system themes including emergency responder culture; community support, education, and engagement; and stakeholder relationships. Three continuous quality improvement themes were identified, which included feedback provision, change management, and documentation. Conclusions We identified structure, process, system, and continuous quality improvement themes that may be leveraged to improve outcomes for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Interventions or programs amenable to rapid implementation include improving prearrival communication between agencies, appointing patient care and logistical leadership on-scene, interstakeholder team training, and providing more standardized feedback to all responder groups.

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