Description of Emergency Medical Services, treatment of cardiac arrest patients and cardiac arrest registries in Europe

on behalf of GL2020 Epidemiology group and participating countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Variation in the incidence, survival rate and factors associated with survival after cardiac arrest in Europe is reported. Some studies have tried to fill the knowledge gap regarding the epidemiology of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in Europe but were unable to identify reasons for the reported differences. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to describe European Emergency Medical Systems, particularly from the perspective of country and ambulance service characteristics, cardiac arrest identification, dispatch, treatment, and monitoring. Methods: An online questionnaire with 51 questions about ambulance and dispatch characteristics, on-scene management of cardiac arrest and the availability and dataset in cardiac arrest registries, was sent to all national coordinators who participated in the European Registry of Cardiac Arrest studies. In addition, individual invitations were sent to the remaining European countries. Results: Participants from 28 European countries responded to the questionnaire. Results were combined with official information on population density. Overall, the number of Emergency Medical Service missions, level of training of personnel, availability of Helicopter Emergency Medical Services and the involvement of first responders varied across and within countries. There were similarities in team training, availability of key resuscitation equipment and permission for ongoing performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation during transported. The quality of reporting to cardiac arrest registries varied, as well as the data availability in the registries. Conclusions: Throughout Europe there are important differences in Emergency Medical Service systems and the response to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Explaining these differences is complicated due to significant variation in how variables are reported to and used in registries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020

Cite this