Purpose of review
This review outlines knowledge on the epidemiology of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) internationally and the contribution that resuscitation registries make to OHCA research. The review focuses on recent advances in the European Cardiac Arrest Registry project, EuReCa.
Although literature describing the epidemiology of OHCA has proliferated in recent years, a 2010 systematic review by Berdowski et al. remains a most important publication, allowing international comparison of OHCA incidence and outcome. Recent literature supports the view that resuscitation registers are excellent sources of data on OHCA. Notable publications describe geographic variation in incidence, improvements in survival and the utility of registers in the development of survival prediction models.
Data from resuscitation registries are an invaluable source of information on the incidence, management and outcome of OHCA. Registries can be used to generate hypotheses for clinical research and registry data may even be used to facilitate clinical trials. To develop international research collaboration, registries must be based on the same dataset and definitions, and include descriptions of data collection methodologies and emergency medical service (EMS) configurations. If such standardization can be achieved, the possibility of an international resuscitation registry might be realized, leading to important OHCA research opportunities worldwide.