Methodology‐dependent Variation in Documentation of Outcome Predictors in Out‐of‐hospital Cardiac Arrest

E. John Gallagher, Gary Lombardi, Paul Gennis, Marsha Treiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify variation in outcome predictor documentation in out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrest associated with two different methods of data collection: concurrent questioning of personnel following a resuscitation attempt and archival report review. Methods: All patients ≤ 18 years old who had had out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrests, verified using the New York City 911 telephone system, between October 1, 1990, and April 1, 1991, were eligible for inclusion. The authors reviewed the first 200 cases of presumed primary cardiac arrest involving a resuscitation attempt from among 3,243 consecutive ambulance call reports for cardiac arrest occurring during the study period. This archival data set was compared with data for the same 200 cases gathered through direct interview of field personnel by trained paramedics. The two data sets had been compiled independently by different individuals, using the same data collection instrument, which conformed to the Utstein template. Results: Comparison of the data obtained from ambulance records with the data obtained from interviews of prehospital personnel revealed several areas of variance. Of note was a significantly lower proportion of bystander‐witnessed ventricular fibrillation (VF) in the data set gathered from written reports (7% vs 18%; 95% CI for the difference 4–18%; p = 0.001). Conclusion: Differences in methods of collection of out‐of‐hospital cardiac arrest data are associated with a more than twofold variation in the reported incidences of witnessed cardiac arrests manifesting as VF. Methodology‐dependent variation in this important “denominator” may produce substantially different estimates of survival within the same cohort of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)423-429
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Emergency Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • data collection
  • defibrillation
  • emergency medical services

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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