Systematic review of the relationship between comorbidity and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest outcomes

David Majewski, Stephen Ball, Judith Finn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives To assess the current evidence on the effect pre-arrest comorbidity has on survival and neurological outcomes following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Design Systematic review according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. Data sources MEDLINE, Ovid Embase, Scopus, CINAHL, Cochrane Library and MedNar were searched from inception to 31 December 2018. Eligibility criteria Studies included if they examined the association between prearrest comorbidity and OHCA survival and neurological outcomes in adult or paediatric populations. Data extraction and synthesis Data were extracted from individual studies but not pooled due to heterogeneity. Quality of included studies was assessed using the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. Results This review included 29 observational studies. There were high levels of clinical heterogeneity between studies with regards to patient recruitment, inclusion criteria, outcome measures and statistical methods used which ultimately resulted in a high risk of bias. Comorbidities reported across the studies were diverse, with some studies reporting individual comorbidities while others reported comorbidity burden using tools like the Charlson Comorbidity Index. Generally, prearrest comorbidity was associated with both reduced survival and poorer neurological outcomes following OHCA with 79% (74/94) of all reported adjusted results across 23 studies showing effect estimates suggesting lower survival with 42% (40/94) of these being statistically significant. OHCA survival was particularly reduced in patients with a prior history of diabetes (four out of six studies). However, a prearrest history of myocardial infarction appeared to be associated with increased survival in one of four studies. Conclusions Prearrest comorbidity is generally associated with unfavourable OHCA outcomes, however differences between individual studies makes comparisons difficult. Due to the clinical and statistical heterogeneity across the studies, no meta-analysis was conducted. Future studies should follow a more standardised approach to investigating the impact of comorbidity on OHCA outcomes. PROSPERO registration number CRD42018087578

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere031655
Number of pages15
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • chronic health conditions
  • comorbidity
  • neurological outcomes
  • out of hospital cardiac arrest
  • survival

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