To transport or to terminate resuscitation on-site. What factors influence EMS decisions in patients without ROSC? A mixed-methods study

Corina de Graaf, Anja J. Th. C. M. de Kruif, Stefanie G. Beesems, R.W. Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: If a patient in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) does not achieve return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) despite advanced life support, emergency medical services can decide to either transport the patient with ongoing CPR or terminate resuscitation on scene. Purpose: To determine differences between patients without ROSC to be transported vs. terminated on scene and explore medical and nonmedical factors that contribute to the decision-making of paramedics on scene. Methods: Mixed-methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data on all-cause OHCA patients without ROSC on scene, between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2016, in the Amsterdam Resuscitation Study database, were analyzed to find factors associated with decision to transport. Qualitative data was collected by performing 16 semi-structured interviews with paramedics from the study region, transcribed and coded to identify themes regarding OHCA decision-making on the scene. Results: In the quantitative Utstein dataset, of 5870 OHCA patients, 3190 (54%) patients did not achieve ROSC on scene. In a multivariable model, age (OR 0.98), public location (OR 2.70), bystander witnessed (OR 1.65), EMS witnessed (OR 9.03), and first rhythm VF/VT (OR 11.22) or PEA (OR 2.34), were independently associated with transport with ongoing CPR. The proportion of variance explained by the model was only 0.36. With the qualitative method, four main themes were identified: patient-related factors, local circumstances, paramedic-related factors, and the structure of the organization. Conclusion: In patients without ROSC on scene, besides known resuscitation characteristics, the decision to transport a patient is largely determined by non-protocollized factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

Cite this