Part 4: Systems of Care and Continuous Quality Improvement

Almost all aspects of resuscitation, from recognition of cardio-pulmonary compromise, through cardiac arrest and resuscitation and post-ardiac arrest care, to the return to productive life, can be discussed in terms of a system or systems of care. Systems of care consist of multiple working parts that are interdependent, each having an effect on every other aspect of the care within that system. To bring about any improvement, providers must recognize the interdependency of the various parts of the system. There is also increasing recognition that out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) and in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) systems of care must function differently. “Part 4: Systems of Care and Continuous Quality Improvement” in this 2015 Guidelines Update makes a clear distinction between the two systems, noting that OHCA frequently is the result of an unexpected event with a reactive element, whereas the focus on IHCA is shifting from reactive resuscitation to prevention. New Chains of Survival are suggested for in-hospital and out-of-hospital systems of care, with relatively recent in-hospital focus on prevention of arrests. Additional emphasis should be on continuous quality improvement by identifying the problem that is limiting survival, and then by setting goals, measuring progress toward those goals, creating accountability, and having a method to effect change in order to improve outcomes.

This new Part of the AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC summarizes the evidence reviewed in 2015 with a focus on the systems of care for both IHCA and OHCA, and it lays the framework for future efforts to improve these systems of care. A universal taxonomy of systems of care is proposed for stakeholders. There are evidence-based recommendations on how to improve these systems.

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Significant New and Updated Recommendations

In a randomized trial, social media was used by dispatchers to notify nearby potential rescuers of a possible cardiac arrest. Although few patients ultimately received CPR from volunteers dispatched by the notification system, there was a higher rate of bystander-initiated CPR (62% versus 48% in the control group).1

Given the low risk of harm and the potential benefit of such notifications, it may be reasonable for communities to incorporate, where available, social media technologies that summon rescuers who are willing and able to perform CPR and are in close proximity to a suspected victim of OHCA. (Class IIb, LOE B-R)

Specialized cardiac arrest centers can provide comprehensive care to patients after resuscitation from cardiac arrest. These specialized centers have been proposed, and new evidence suggests that a regionalized approach to OHCA resuscitation may be considered that includes the use of cardiac resuscitation centers.

A variety of early warning scores are available to help identify adult and pediatric patients at risk for deterioration. Medical emergency teams or rapid response teams have been developed to help respond to patients who are deteriorating. Use of scoring systems to identify these patients and creation of teams to respond to those scores or other indicators of deterioration may be considered, particularly on general care wards for adults and for children with high-risk illnesses, and may help reduce the incidence of cardiac arrest.

Evidence regarding the use of public access defibrillation was reviewed, and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by laypersons continues to improve survival from OHCA. We continue to recommend implementation of public access defibrillation programs for treatment of patients with OHCA in communities who have persons at risk for cardiac arrest.

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Knowledge Gaps

  • What is the optimal model for rapid response teams in the prevention of IHCA, and is there evidence that rapid response teams improve outcomes?
  • What are the most effective methods for increasing bystander CPR for OHCA?
  • What is the best composition for a team that responds to IHCA, and what is the most appropriate training for that team?

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References

  1. Ringh M, Rosenqvist M, Hollenberg J, Jonsson M, Fredman D, Nordberg P, Järnbert-Pettersson H, Hasselqvist-Ax I, Riva G, Svensson L. Mobile- phone dispatch of laypersons for CPR in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. N Engl J Med. 2015;372:2325–806. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1406038.
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Part 4: Systems of Care and Continuous Quality Improvement

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