In-hospital cardiac arrest: are we overlooking a key distinction?

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Purpose of review

To review the epidemiology, peri-arrest management, and research priorities related to in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) and explore key distinctions between IHCA and out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) as they pertain to the clinician and resuscitation scientist.

Recent findings

IHCA is a common and highly morbid event amongst hospitalized patients in the United States. As compared with patients who experience an OHCA, patients who experience an IHCA tend to have more medical comorbidities, have a witnessed arrest, and be attended to by professional first responders. Further, providers resuscitating patients from IHCA commonly have access to tools and information not readily available to the OHCA responders. Despite these differences, society guidelines for the peri-arrest management of patients with IHCA are often based on data extrapolated from the OHCA population. To advance the care of patients with IHCA, clinicians and investigators should recognize the many important distinctions between OHCA and IHCA.


IHCA is a unique disease entity with an epidemiology and natural history that are distinct from OHCA. In both research and clinical practice, physicians should recognize these distinctions so as to advance the care of IHCA victims.

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