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Does Single Dose Epinephrine Improve Outcomes for Patients with Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest and Bystander CPR or a Shockable Rhythm?

BACKGROUND: A single dose epinephrine protocol (SDEP) for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) achieves similar survival to hospital discharge (SHD) rates as a multidose epinephrine protocol (MDEP). However, it is unknown if a SDEP improves SHD rates among patients with a shockable rhythm or those receiving bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

METHODS: This pre-post study, spanning 11/01/2016-10/29/2019 at 5 North Carolina EMS systems, compared pre-implementation MDEP and post-implementation SDEP in patients ≥18 years old with non-traumatic OHCA. Data on initial rhythm type, performance of bystander CPR, and the primary outcome of SHD were sourced from the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival. We compared SDEP vs MDEP performance in each rhythm (shockable and non-shockable) and CPR (bystander CPR or no bystander CPR) subgroup using Generalized Estimating Equations to account for clustering among EMS systems and to adjust for age, sex, race, witnessed arrest, arrest location, AED availability, EMS response interval, and presence of a shockable rhythm or receiving bystander CPR. The interaction of SDEP implementation with rhythm type and bystander CPR was evaluated.

RESULTS: Of 1690 patients accrued (899 MDEP, 791 SDEP), 19.2% (324/1690) had shockable rhythms and 38.9% (658/1690) received bystander CPR. After adjusting for confounders, SHD was increased after SDEP implementation among patients with bystander CPR (aOR 1.61, 95%CI 1.03-2.53). However, SHD was similar in the SDEP cohort vs MDEP cohort among patients without bystander CPR (aOR 0.81, 95%CI 0.60-1.09), with a shockable rhythm (aOR 0.96, 95%CI 0.48-1.91), and with a non-shockable rhythm (aOR 1.26, 95%CI 0.89-1.77). In the adjusted model, the interaction between SDEP implementation and bystander CPR was significant for SHD ( p  = 0.002).

CONCLUSION: Adjusting for confounders, the SDEP increased SHD in patients who received bystander CPR and there was a significant interaction between SDEP and bystander CPR. Single dose epinephrine protocol and MDEP had similar SHD rates regardless of rhythm type.

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