Out-of-hospital-cardiac arrest: Care gaps and opportunities to improve long-term survival

Out-of-hospital-cardiac arrest (OHCA) affects 40,000 Canadians per year. Cardiac arrest is the sudden loss of heart beating, and can occur in people with or without known heart disease. In British Columbia (BC), only 15% of these patients live (50% die before hospital, 35% die in hospital), less than 50% receive bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and only 3% receive bystander automatic external defibrillation. Due to a lack of connected data, little is known about the effect of treatments on long term survival, brain function and quality of life after leaving hospital.

We are closing this knowledge gap by having recently developed a new provincial database linking BC Ambulance records with hospital charts, prescription data, and post-discharge nursing home and home care information. This is the first database of its kind in North America and includes information for over 16,000 OHCA patients. We can now evaluate the complete 'journey' of each patient from 9-1-1 call, to hospital treatments, to survival and functional status long after discharge. We can now determine if current treatments affect length of survival, brain function, and quality of life, and within this framework, eventually test whether new strategies improve patient outcomes.