Comparison of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests Occurring in Schools and Other Public Locations: A 12-Year Retrospective Study

Brian Haskins, Ziad Nehme, Jocasta Ball, Emily Mahony, Laura Parker-Stebbing, Peter Cameron, Steve Bernard, Karen Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) in schools and universities are uncommon. However, these institutions must plan and prepare for such events to ensure the best outcomes. To evaluate their preparedness we assessed baseline characteristics, survival outcomes and 12-year trends for OHCA in schools/universities compared to other public locations. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of OHCA in schools/universities and public locations between 2008 and 2019 using Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry data. Results: We included 9,037 EMS attended cases, 131 occurred in schools/universities and 8,906 in public locations. Compared to public locations, a significantly higher proportion of EMS treated cases in schools/universities received bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) (95.5% vs. 78.5%, p < 0.001), public access defibrillation (PAD) (26.1% vs. 9.9%, p < 0.001) and presented in shockable rhythms (69.4% vs. 50.9%, p < 0.001). Unadjusted survival to hospital discharge rates were also significantly higher in schools/universities (39.6% vs. 24.2%, p < 0.001). The long-term unadjusted trends for bystander CPR in schools/universities increased from 91.7% (2008–10) to 100% (2017–19) (p-trend = 0.025), for PAD from 4.2% (2008–10) to 47.5% (2017–19) (p-trend < 0.001) and for survival to hospital discharge from 16.7% (2008–10) to 57.5% (2017–19) (p-trend = 0.004). However, after adjustment for favorable cardiac arrest factors, such as younger age, bystander CPR and PAD, survival was similar between schools/universities and public locations. Conclusion: The majority of OHCA in schools and universities were witnessed and received bystander CPR, however less than half received PAD. Developing site-specific cardiac emergency response plans and providing age appropriate CPR training to primary, secondary and university students would help improve PAD rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


  • automatic external defibrillator
  • bystander CPR
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
  • public access defibrillation

Cite this