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Sudden Cardiac Arrests in the Polish Tatra Mountains: A Retrospective Study.

INTRODUCTION: Achieving the optimal survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest in mountains is challenging. The odds of surviving are influenced mainly by distance, response time, and organization of the emergency medical system. The aim of this study was to analyze the epidemiology and outcomes of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in whom cardiopulmonary resuscitation was performed in the Polish Tatra Mountains.

METHODS: This was a retrospective analysis of data on sudden cardiac arrest collected from the database of the Tatra Mountain Rescue Service and local emergency medical system from 2001 to 2021.

RESULTS: A total of 74 cases of sudden cardiac arrest were recorded. The mortality rate was 88% (65/74). Return of spontaneous circulation was achieved in 22 (30%) patients. A group of survivors was characterized by more frequent use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) (56% vs 14%, P=0.011), a shorter interval between cardiac arrest and emergency team arrival (12 vs 20 min, P=0.005), and a shorter time to initiation of advanced life support (ALS) (12 vs 22 min, P=0.004). All survivors had a shockable initial rhythm. The majority of survivors (8/9, 89%) had a good or moderate neurological outcome.

CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms poor survival rate after sudden cardiac arrest in the mountain area. The use of AED, shockable initial rhythm, and shorter time interval to emergency team arrival and ALS initiation are associated with better outcomes.

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