Purpose of review
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is the most devastating and time-critical medical emergency. Survival after OHCA requires an integrated system of care, of which transport by emergency medical services is an integral component. The transport system serves to commence and ensure uninterrupted high-quality resuscitation in suitable patients who would benefit, terminate resuscitation in those that do not, provide critical interventions, as well as convey patients to the next appropriate venue of care. We review recent evidence surrounding contemporary issues in the transport of OHCA, relating to who, where, when and how to transport these patients.
We examine the clinical and systems-related evidence behind issues including: contemporary approaches to field termination of resuscitation in patients in whom continued resuscitation and transport to hospital would be medically futile, OHCA patients and organ donation, on-scene versus intra-transport resuscitation, significance of response time, intra-transport interventions (mechanical chest compression, targeted temperature management, ECMO-facilitated cardiopulmonary resuscitation), OHCA in high-rise locations and cardiac arrest centers. We highlight gaps in current knowledge and areas of active research.
There remains limited evidence to guide some decisions in transporting the OHCA patient. Evidence is urgently needed to elucidate the roles of cardiac arrest centers and ECPR in OHCA.