REVIEW – November 2010

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, longterm outcome of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and possibilities of improving it

Authors: Veronika Reinhard, Eneli Vaasna, Liis Kärgenberg, Andras Laugamets, Ago Kõrgvee

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Estonian medical emergency teams provide on average 577 out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitations per year. The survival data is comparable with that reported from other countries but the problems in Estonia are insufficient early bystander basic life support and absence of public access to automatic external defibrillators. Approximately every 10th survivor of witnessed cardiac arrest is discharged from hospital with a favourably recovered central nervous system and most  of them are alive 1–5 years after cardiac arrest. However, these patients assess their quality of life lower compared to general population. For improvement of longterm outcome after cardiac arrest, it is not sufficient to focus only on the training of medical staff; it is evident that improvement in the basic life support skills of the whole community is necessary. Another important issue is availability of automatic external defibrillators in crowded and other places of higher risk for cardiac arrest to occur.