eCPR, the modality of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) applied in the setting of cardiac arrest, has emerged as a novel therapy which may improve outcomes in select patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). To date, implementation has been mainly limited to single academic centres. Our objective is to describe the feasibility and challenges with implementation of a regional protocol for eCPR.
The Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Agency implemented a regional eCPR protocol in July 2020, which included coordination across multiple EMS provider agencies and hospitals to route patients with refractory ventricular fibrillation (rVF) OHCA to eCPR-capable centres (ECCs). Data were entered on consecutive patients with rVF with suspected cardiac aetiology into a centralized database including time intervals, field and in-hospital care, survival and neurologic outcome.
From July 27, 2020 through July 31, 2022, 35 patients (median age 57 years, 6 (17%) female) were routed to ECCs, of whom 11 (31%) received eCPR and 3 (27%) treated with eCPR survived, all of whom had a full neurologic recovery. Challenges encountered during implementation included cost to EMS provider agencies for training, implementation, and purchase of automatic chest compression devices, maintenance of system awareness, hospital administrative support for staffing and equipment for the ECMO program, and interdepartmental coordination at ECCs.
We describe the successful implementation of a regional eCPR program with ongoing patient enrolment and data collection. These preliminary findings can serve as a model for other EMS systems who seek to implement regional eCPR programs.
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Published online: January 28, 2023
Accepted: January 23, 2023
Received in revised form: January 7, 2023
Received: November 23, 2022
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