Relationship between Time-to-ROSC and Survival in Out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest ECPR Candidates: When is the Best Time to Consider Transport to Hospital?

Brian Grunau, Joshua Reynolds, Frank Scheuermeyer, Robert Stenstom, Dion Stub, Sarah Pennington, Sheldon Cheskes, Krishnan Ramanathan, Jim Christenson

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79 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) may improve outcomes for refractory out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Transport of intra-arrest patients to hospital however, may decrease CPR quality, potentially reducing survival for those who would have achieved return-of-spontaneous-circulation (ROSC) with further on-scene resuscitation. We examined time-to-ROSC and patient outcomes for the optimal time to consider transport. Methods: From a prospective registry of consecutive adult non-traumatic OHCA's, we identified a hypothetical ECPR-eligible cohort of EMS-treated patients with age ≤ 65, witnessed arrest, and bystander CPR or EMS arrival < 10 minutes. We assessed the relationship between time-to-ROSC and survival, and constructed a ROC curve to illustrate the ability of a pulseless state to predict non-survival with conventional resuscitation. Results: Of 6,571 EMS-treated cases, 1,206 were included with 27% surviving. Increasing time–to–ROSC (per minute) was negatively associated with survival (adjusted OR 0.91; 95%CI 0.89–0.93%). The yield of survivors per minute of resuscitation increased from commencement and started to decline in the 8th minute. Fifty percent and 90% of survivors had achieved ROSC by 8.0 and 24 min, respectively, at which times the probability of survival for those with initial shockable rhythms was 31% and 10%, and for non-shockable rhythms was 5.2% and 1.6%. The ROC curve illustrated that the 16th minute of resuscitation maximized sensitivity and specificity (AUC = 0.87, 95% CI 0.85–0.89). Conclusion: Transport for ECPR should be considered between 8 to 24 minutes of professional on-scene resuscitation, with 16 minutes balancing the risks and benefits of early and later transport. Earlier transport within this window may be preferred if high quality CPR can be maintained during transport and for those with initial non-shockable rhythms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)615-622
Number of pages8
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • emergency medical services
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation

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