Improving Patient Selection for Refractory Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrest Treated with Extracorporeal Life Support

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Despite recent management improvement, including Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS), refractory out of hospital cardiac arrest (ROHCA) survival remains dramatically low.


We assessed an innovative strategy (Out of hoSpital Cardiac ARrest–ExtraCorporeal Life Support—“OSCAR-ECLS”) to optimize access to ECLS of ROHCA patients and reduce the delay between recognition and ECLS implantation.


This study, conducted in a tertiary teaching hospital, compared the survival and delay times of ROHCA patients treated by ECLS before and after OSCAR-ECLS implementation. This procedure included an early recognition of ROHCA 10 min after initiation of advanced cardiopulmonary resuscitation; the optimization of patient selection and reduction in time from collapse to ECLS initiation.


Fourteen patients before and 32 patients after OSCAR-ECLS implementation were identified between 2013 and 2016. Time to ECLS initiation was 99 (90–107) min before OSCAR-ECLS vs. 80 (65–94) min during the OSCAR-ECLS period (P = 0.0007), mostly due to a reduction in time spent on site: 48 (40.0–54.0) min vs. 24 (20.0–28.0) min (P = 0.0001). Survival at hospital discharge was 7% (1/14) before OSCAR-ECLS and 25% (8/32) during the OSCAR-ECLS period (P = 0.20). Only one patient survived with a Glasgow Pittsburgh Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) score = 1 before the OSCAR-ECLS procedure while during the OSCAR-ECLS procedure, eight patients (25%) survived, six with a CPC score = 1, one with a CPC score = 2, and one with a CPC score = 3.


The use of a new paradigm of ROHCA dramatically shortened the time to ECLS initiation by reducing the time spent on site by more than 20 min. Survival improved from 7% to 25% after implementation of OSCAR-ECLS.

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