Time to administration of epinephrine and outcome after in-hospital cardiac arrest with non-shockable rhythms: retrospective analysis of large in-hospital data registry

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Abstract

Objective

To determine if earlier administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) in patients with non-shockable cardiac arrest rhythms is associated with increased return of spontaneous circulation, survival, and neurologically intact survival.

Design

Post hoc analysis of prospectively collected data in a large multicenter registry of in-hospital cardiac arrests (Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation).

Setting

We utilized the Get With The Guidelines-Resuscitation database (formerly National Registry of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, NRCPR). The database is sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA) and contains prospective data from 570 American hospitals collected from 1 January 2000 to 19 November 2009.

Participants

119 978 adults from 570 hospitals who had a cardiac arrest in hospital with asystole (55%) or pulseless electrical activity (45%) as the initial rhythm. Of these, 83 490 arrests were excluded because they took place in the emergency department, intensive care unit, or surgical or other specialty unit, 10 775 patients were excluded because of missing or incomplete data, 524 patients were excluded because they had a repeat cardiac arrest, and 85 patients were excluded as they received vasopressin before the first dose of epinephrine. The main study population therefore comprised 25 095 patients. The mean age was 72, and 57% were men.

Main outcome measures

The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge. Secondary outcomes included sustained return of spontaneous circulation, 24 hour survival, and survival with favorable neurologic status at hospital discharge.

Results

25 095 adults had in-hospital cardiac arrest with non-shockable rhythms. Median time to administration of the first dose of epinephrine was 3 minutes (interquartile range 1-5 minutes). There was a stepwise decrease in survival with increasing interval of time to epinephrine (analyzed by three minute intervals): adjusted odds ratio 1.0 for 1-3 minutes (reference group); 0.91 (95% confidence interval 0.82 to 1.00; P=0.055) for 4-6 minutes; 0.74 (0.63 to 0.88; P<0.001) for 7-9 minutes; and 0.63 (0.52 to 0.76; P<0.001) for >9 minutes. A similar stepwise effect was observed across all outcome variables.

Conclusions

In patients with non-shockable cardiac arrest in hospital, earlier administration of epinephrine is associated with a higher probability of return of spontaneous circulation, survival in hospital, and neurologically intact survival.

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