Document Type



Community Health Sciences; Cardiology; Department of Medicine


Background: Trauma is the leading cause of death for adults under 44 years of age. Survival after traumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) has been reported to be poor, and its epidemiology is not well defined. A few studies have reported better survival in response to pre-hospital life-saving interventions. Currently, no published data on traumatic cardiac arrests in the field exist from low- and lower middle-income countries. We aimed to explore the epidemiology and outcomes of traumatic OHCA patients from Karachi, Pakistan. We conducted a longitudinal cohort study at emergency departments (ED) of five major public and private hospitals of the city from January to April 2013. Data was collected on all adult patients (age 18 years or more) presenting to the hospitals directly from field with cardiac arrest and history of trauma using a structured questionnaire. Patients with do-not-resuscitate status and those referred from other hospitals were excluded.
Results: During 3 months, a total of 187 patients were enrolled with mean age of 35.1 years. About 95% were men, and 68.4% had a penetrating injury. Even though half of the patients had a witnessed arrest, none received a bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 83.4% were brought to the hospital in an ambulance, with median response and scene times of 3 and 2 min respectively; however, only 3 received any pre-hospital life-support interventions. One hundred eighty-one patients (96.7%) were pronounced dead on arrival to the ED, and of the remaining 6 patients, 4 received CPR in the EDs. Overall survival at the end of ED stay was 0%. Patients who received life-support interventions survived for longer time, though not clinically significant, as compared to those who did not (45 min vs. 35 min, p = 0.02).
Conclusion: There was no survival after a traumatic OHCA in Karachi, Pakistan. Even though ambulances reached the scene in a very short time, pre-hospital interventions were largely absent. There is a strong need to strengthen our pre-hospital care system but most importantly train the general public to deal with emergencies and be able to provide timely bystander CPR.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

International Journal of Emergency Medicine