Recent reports from 2 European cities and an earlier observation from Seattle, Wash, suggest that the number of patients treated for out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation (VF) has declined.
To analyze the incidence of cardiac arrest and to examine relationships among incidence, sex, race, age, and first identified cardiac rhythm in Seattle.
Population-based study of all cardiac arrest cases with presumed cardiac etiology who received advanced life support from Seattle Fire Department emergency medical services during specified periods between 1979 and 2000. United States Census data for Seattle in 1980, 1990, and 2000 were used to determine incidence rates for treated cardiac arrest with adjustments for age and sex.
Changes in incidence of cardiac arrest and initial recorded cardiac rhythm.
The adjusted annual incidence of cardiac arrest with VF as the first identified rhythm decreased by about 56% from 1980 to 2000 (from 0.85 to 0.38 per 1000; relative risk [RR], 0.44; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-0.53). Similar reductions occurred in blacks (54%; RR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.26-0.79) and whites (53%; RR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.38-0.58) and was most evident in men (57%; RR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.35-0.53), in whom the baseline incidence was relatively high. When all treated arrests with presumed cardiac etiology were considered, that incidence decreased by 43% (RR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.49-0.67) in men but negligibly in women, for whom a relatively low incidence of VF also declined but was offset by more cases with asystole or pulseless electrical activity.
We observed a major decline in the incidence of out-of-hospital VF and in all cases of treated cardiac arrest presumably due to heart disease in Seattle. These changes likely reflect the national decline in coronary heart disease mortality.
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"There is no conclusive evidence that immediate defibrillation is the optimal treatment in these latter phases of VF , so from a SAA design perspective it is a sound decision to only include coarse VF. On the other hand, our database has a large proportion of ASY among nonshockable rhythms (39%), in agreement with the fact that ASY is the most frequent nonshockable OHCA rhythm . The high specificity of our method for ASY is particularly important because ASY is the most difficult nonshockable rhythm to detect during CPR [14, 16]. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interruptions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) compromise defibrillation success. However, CPR must be interrupted to analyze the rhythm because although current methods for rhythm analysis during CPR have high sensitivity for shockable rhythms, the specificity for nonshockable rhythms is still too low. This paper introduces a new approach to rhythm analysis during CPR that combines two strategies: a state-of-the-art CPR artifact suppression filter and a shock advice algorithm (SAA) designed to optimally classify the filtered signal. Emphasis is on designing an algorithm with high specificity. The SAA includes a detector for low electrical activity rhythms to increase the specificity, and a shock/no-shock decision algorithm based on a support vector machine classifier using slope and frequency features. For this study, 1185 shockable and 6482 nonshockable 9-s segments corrupted by CPR artifacts were obtained from 247 patients suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The segments were split into a training and a test set. For the test set, the sensitivity and specificity for rhythm analysis during CPR were 91.0% and 96.6%, respectively. This new approach shows an important increase in specificity without compromising the sensitivity when compared to previous studies.
Full-text · Article · May 2014 · BioMed Research International
"First, the studies are based on different data, with very different prevalence of the rhythm types and different selection criteria for the rhythms. For example, these studies have large differences in the proportion of asystole among nonshockable rhythms, which may have important implications in the results given that asystole is the nonshockable rhythm with the largest prevalence  and the main cause of the low specificity . Second, the studies based on adaptive filtering use different SAAs that may diagnose the filtered ECG differently. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest depends largely on two factors: early cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation. CPR must be interrupted for a reliable automated rhythm analysis because chest compressions induce artifacts in the ECG. Unfortunately, interrupting CPR adversely affects survival. In the last twenty years, research has been focused on designing methods for analysis of ECG during chest compressions. Most approaches are based either on adaptive filters to remove the CPR artifact or on robust algorithms which directly diagnose the corrupted ECG. In general, all the methods report low specificity values when tested on short ECG segments, but how to evaluate the real impact on CPR delivery of continuous rhythm analysis during CPR is still unknown. Recently, researchers have proposed a new methodology to measure this impact. Moreover, new strategies for fast rhythm analysis during ventilation pauses or high-specificity algorithms have been reported. Our objective is to present a thorough review of the field as the starting point for these late developments and to underline the open questions and future lines of research to be explored in the following years.
"Hence, it is not surprising that PEA is commonly associated with MPE . Alternatively, acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is more likely to present with VT or VF arrest . The initial rhythm may therefore lead to a diagnosis in cases of cardiac arrest where ischemia is being strongly considered. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Myocardial infarction (MI) and massive pulmonary embolism (MPE) are common causes of cardiac arrest. We present two cases with similar clinical presentation and EKG findings but different initial rhythms. Case 1. A 55-year-old African American male (AAM) was brought to the emergency room (ER) with cardiac arrest and pulseless electrical activity (PEA). Twelve-lead electrocardiogram (EKG) was suggestive of ST segment elevations (STEs) in anterolateral leads. Coronary angiogram did not reveal any significant obstruction. An echocardiogram was suggestive of a pulmonary embolus (PE). Autopsy revealed a saddle PE. Case 2. A 45-year-old AAM with a history of coronary artery disease was brought to the ER after ventricular fibrillation (VF) arrest. Twelve-lead EKG was suggestive of STE in anterior leads. Coronary angiogram revealed in-stent thrombosis. In cardiac arrests, distinguishing the two major etiologies (MI and MPE) can be challenging. PEA is more commonly associated with MPE versus MI due to near complete obstruction of pulmonary blood flow with an intact electrical conduction system. MI is more commonly associated with VF as the electrical conduction system is affected more often by ischemia. In conclusion, the previous cases illustrate that initial rhythm may be a vital diagnostic clue.