Trends in survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests defibrillated by paramedics, first responders and bystanders

Ziad Nehme, Emily Andrew, Stephen Bernard, Brian Haskins, Karen Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Although survival from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is increasing, little is known about the long-term trends in survival for patients defibrillated by first responders and bystanders. Methods: Between 2000 and 2017, we included adult non-traumatic OHCA with an initial shockable rhythm from the Victorian Ambulance Cardiac Arrest Registry. Adjusted logistic regression analyses were used to assess trends in survival to hospital discharge according to whether the patient was initially shocked by paramedics, first responders or bystanders. Results: Of the 10,451 initial shockable arrests, 796 (7.6%) and 526 (5.0%) were initially shocked by first responders and bystanders, respectively. Between 2000–02 and 2015–17, the proportion of cases initially shocked by first responders and bystanders increased from 3.8% to 8.2% and from 2.0% to 11.2%, respectively. Over the same period, survival to hospital discharge increased from 11.6% to 28.8% for cases initially shocked by paramedics, from 10.5% to 37.8% for cases initially shocked by first responders, and from 6.7% to 55.5% for cases initially shocked by bystanders (p trend <0.001 for all). In the adjusted analyses, patients initially shocked by first responders (AOR 1.40, 95% CI: 1.18, 1.67; p < 0.001) and bystanders (AOR 2.11, 95% CI: 1.72, 2.59; p < 0.001) were more likely to survive to hospital discharge than those initially shocked by paramedics. The odds of survival increased year-on-year by 8.1% for patients shocked by paramedics (p < 0.001), 6.1% for patients shocked by first responders (p = 0.004), and 11.8% for patients shocked by bystanders (p < 0.001). Conclusion: OHCA patients initially defibrillated by bystanders yielded the largest improvements in survival over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-91
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Defibrillation
  • Emergency medical service
  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
  • Public access defibrillation
  • Resuscitation

Cite this