Community lessons to understand resuscitation excellence (culture): Association between emergency medical services (EMS) culture and outcome after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

Kylie Dyson, Siobhan P. Brown, Susanne May, Michael Sayre, Mario Colella, Mohamud R. Daya, Ronald Roth, Graham Nichol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The large geographic variation in outcome after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is not well explained by traditional patient and emergency medical services (EMS) characteristics. A ‘culture of excellence’ in resuscitation within an EMS is believed to be an important factor that influences quality of care and outcome in patients with OHCA. However, whether a culture of excellence is associated with improved survival after OHCA is not known. Methodology: We linked survey responses from EMS agency medical directors related to resuscitation culture to a retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data from the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC) Epistry – Cardiac Arrest. We used a multivariable random effects model to assess whether EMS culture strategies were associated with OHCA survival to hospital discharge. Results: Of the 46 EMS medical directors surveyed, 35 (76%) provided a complete response. Included were n = 66,597 cases of OHCA who received attempted resuscitation by one of n = 123 EMS agencies from July 1, 2010, through June 30, 2015. Overall survival to discharge was 11%. Organizational values and goals were independently associated with survival to hospital discharge in all OHCAs (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.27, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09−1.48) and the subgroup restricted to bystander witnessed OHCAs with initial shockable rhythm (AOR 1.55, 95% CI 1.21−1.99). Conclusions: An organizational goal to improve OHCA survival was independently associated with improved survival to discharge. EMS agencies looking to improve OHCA survival should consider implementing an organizational goal to improve OHCA survival and empower quality improvement personnel to drive that goal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-209
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Cardiac arrest
  • Culture
  • Emergency medical services

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