Factors that influence paramedic decision-making about resuscitation for treatment of out of hospital cardiac arrest: Results of a discrete choice experiment in National Health Service ambulance trusts in England and Wales

Karl Charlton*, Angela Bate

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background: During out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) paramedics must make decisions to commence, continue, terminate or withhold resuscitation. These decisions are known to be complex, subject to variability and often dependent on provider preference. This study aimed to understand paramedic decision-making regarding the commencement of resuscitation using a discrete choice experiment.
Methods: A discrete choice experiment between October-December 2022 surveying paramedics from ten National Health Service ambulance trusts in England and Wales. Respondents were presented with fourteen vignettes, each comprising thirteen attributes, and asked to decide if they would provide resuscitation or not.
Results: Eight hundred and sixty-four paramedics completed the survey (61.8% male, median age 36 years (IQR 17.1)) and half had < 5 years clinical experience (n = 443 (51.2%). Respondents expressed a general preference to offer resuscitation (p = <0.01). All attributes except patient gender were statistically significant and important regarding an offer of resuscitation. Cut-offs where an offer of resuscitation was less likely were patient age of 73 years (p=>0.05), mild dementia (p = >0.05) and moderate frailty (p = <0.01). Paramedic characteristics of female gender, longest (>10 years) and shortest (<5 years) period qualified, lower academic qualification, lower skill level and attending fewer OHCA’s were more likely to result in an offer of resuscitation.
Conclusion: During OHCA paramedics use objective and non-objective factors to make pragmatic decisions regarding an offer of resuscitation. Future research should focus on how best to support paramedics to make decisions during OHCA, how variability in decision-making impacts patient outcomes and how this relates to patient and public expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100580
Number of pages10
JournalResuscitation Plus
Early online date15 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024

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