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Prehospital critical care for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: An observational study examining survival and a stakeholder-focused cost analysis

von Vopelius-Feldt, Johannes; Powell, Jane; Morris, Richard; Benger, Jonathan


Johannes von Vopelius-Feldt

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Jane Powell
Professor in Public Health Economics

Richard Morris

Jonathan Benger


© 2016 The Author(s). Background: Survival rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) remain low, despite remarkable efforts to improve care. A number of ambulance services in the United Kingdom (UK) have developed prehospital critical care teams (CCTs) which attend critically ill patients, including OHCA. However, current scientific evidence describing CCTs attending OHCA is sparse and research to date has not demonstrated clear benefits from this model of care. Methods: This prospective, observational study will describe the effect of CCTs on survival from OHCA, when compared to advanced-life-support (ALS), the current standard of prehospital care in the UK. In addition, we will describe the association between individual critical care interventions and survival, and also the costs of CCTs for OHCA. To examine the effect of CCTs on survival from OHCA, we will use routine Utstein variables data already collected in a number of UK ambulance trusts. We will use propensity score matching to adjust for imbalances between the CCT and ALS groups. The primary outcome will be survival to hospital discharge, with the secondary outcome of survival to hospital admission. We will record the critical care interventions delivered during CCT attendance at OHCA. We will describe frequencies and aim to use multiple logistic regression to examine possible associations with survival. Finally, we will undertake a stakeholder-focused cost analysis of CCTs for OHCA. This will utilise a previously published Emergency Medical Services (EMS) cost analysis toolkit and will take into account the costs incurred from use of a helicopter and the proportion of these costs currently covered by charities in the UK. Discussion: Prehospital critical care for OHCA is not universally available in many EMS. In the UK, it is variable and largely funded through public donations to charities. If this study demonstrates benefit from CCTs at an acceptable cost to the public or EMS commissioners, it will provide a rationale to increase funding and service provision. If no clinical benefit is found, the public and charities providing these services can consider concentrating their efforts on other areas of prehospital care. Trial registration: ISRCTN registry ID ISRCTN18375201.


von Vopelius-Feldt, J., Powell, J., Morris, R., & Benger, J. (2016). Prehospital critical care for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest: An observational study examining survival and a stakeholder-focused cost analysis. BMC Emergency Medicine, 16(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 9, 2016
Publication Date Dec 7, 2016
Journal BMC Emergency Medicine
Electronic ISSN 1471-227X
Publisher BMC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 1
Keywords heart arrest, emergency medical services, critical care
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