Evaluation of out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation with resuscitative drugs: a prospective comparative study in Japan



      This study aimed at evaluating two emergency medical service systems, one in which emergency life-saving technicians (ELSTs) are allowed to administer epinephrine (adrenaline) to patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and one in which ELSTs are allowed to administer epinephrine, lidocaine, and atropine.


      A modified, prospective community health trial was conducted from April 1 to October 31, 2003. Areas served by physician-manned ambulances, where out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was performed with resuscitative drugs (experimental areas), were compared to areas served by ELST-manned ambulances, where resuscitative drugs were not administered outside the hospital (reference areas). The sequence of emergency procedures performed in the experimental areas was divided into three phases. Phase I included administration of epinephrine, which simulated administration of epinephrine by ELSTs. Phase II started with the use of lidocaine or atropine. Phases I and II simulated administration of epinephrine, lidocaine, and atropine by ELSTs. Phase III began with administration of another drug. Outcomes, resuscitation rates and 1-month survival rates were determined, and differences between the two types of areas were analyzed.


      For non-traumatic cardiac arrest, outcomes through phase II in the experimental areas were significantly better than those in the reference areas. Phase I—only outcomes in the experimental areas were better, but not significantly better, than those in the reference areas.


      Use of resuscitative drugs for non-traumatic prehospital CPR appears to be effective in terms of resuscitation rates and 1-month survival rates.


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