Community first responders for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in adults and children.Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 07 19; 7:CD012764.CD
Mobilization of community first responders (CFRs) to the scene of an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) event has been proposed as a means of shortening the interval from occurrence of cardiac arrest to performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation, thereby increasing patient survival.
To assess the effect of mobilizing community first responders (CFRs) to out-of-hospital cardiac arrest events in adults and children older than four weeks of age, in terms of survival and neurological function.
We searched the following databases for relevant trials in January 2019: CENTRAL, MEDLINE (Ovid SP), Embase (Ovid SP), and Web of Science. We also searched the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (WHO ICTRP) and ClinicalTrials.gov, and we scanned the abstracts of conference proceedings of the American Heart Association and the European Resuscitation Council.
We included randomized and quasi-randomized trials (RCTs and q-RCTs) that compared routine emergency medical services (EMS) care versus EMS care plus mobilization of CFRs in instances of OHCA.Trials with randomization by cluster were eligible for inclusion, including cluster-design studies with intervention cross-over.In some communities, the statutory ambulance service/EMS is routinely provided by the local fire service. For the purposes of this review, this group represents the statutory ambulance service/EMS, as distinct from CFRs, and was not included as an eligible intervention.We did not include studies primarily focused on opportunistic bystanders. Individuals who were present at the scene of an OHCA event and who performed CPR according to telephone instruction provided by EMS call takers were not considered to be CFRs.Studies primarily assessing the impact of specific additional interventions such as administration of naloxone in narcotic overdose or adrenaline in anaphylaxis were also excluded.We included adults and children older than four weeks of age who had experienced an OHCA.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently reviewed all titles and abstracts received to assess potential eligibility, using set inclusion criteria. We obtained and examined in detail full-text copies of all papers considered potentially eligible, and we approached authors of trials for additional information when necessary. We summarized the process of study selection in a PRISMA flowchart.Three review authors independently extracted relevant data using a standard data extraction form and assessed the validity of each included trial using the Cochrane 'Risk of bias' tool. We resolved disagreements by discussion and consensus.We synthesized findings in narrative fashion due to the heterogeneity of the included studies. We used the principles of the GRADE system to assess the certainty of the body of evidence associated with specific outcomes and to construct a 'Summary of findings' table.
We found two completed studies involving a total of 1136 participants that ultimately met our inclusion criteria. We also found one ongoing study and one planned study. We noted significant heterogeneity in the characteristics of interventions and outcomes measured or reported across these studies, thus we could not pool study results.One completed study considered the dispatch of police and fire service CFRs equipped with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in an EMS system in Amsterdam and surrounding areas. This study was an RCT with allocation made by cluster according to non-overlapping geographical regions. It was conducted between 5 January 2000 and 5 January 2002. All participants were 18 years of age or older and had experienced witnessed OHCA. The study found no difference in survival at hospital discharge (odds ratio (OR) 1.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.8 to 2.2; 1 RCT; 469 participants; low-certainty evidence), despite the observation that all 72 incidences of defibrillation performed before EMS arrival occurred in the intervention group (OR and 95% CI - not applicable; 1 RCT; 469 participants; moderate-certainty evidence). This study reported increased survival to hospital admission in the intervention group (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.0; 1 RCT; 469 participants; moderate-certainty evidence).The second completed study considered the dispatch of nearby lay volunteers in Stockholm, Sweden, who were trained to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This represented a supplementary CFR intervention in an EMS system where police and fire services were already routinely dispatched to OHCA in addition to EMS ambulances. This study, an RCT, included both witnessed and unwitnessed OHCA and was conducted between 1 April 2012 and 1 December 2013. Participants included adults and children eight years of age and older. Researchers found no difference in 30-day survival (OR 1.34, 95% CI 0.79 to 2.29; 1 RCT; 612 participants; low-certainty evidence), despite a significant increase in CPR performed before EMS arrival (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.09 to 2.03; 1 RCT; 665 participants; moderate-certainty evidence).Neither of the included completed studies considered neurological function at hospital discharge or at 30 days, measured by cerebral performance category or by any other means. Neither of the included completed studies considered health-related quality of life. The overall certainty of evidence for the outcomes of included studies was low to moderate.