Background Early identification of warning symptoms among out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients remains challenging. Thus, we examined the registered prodromal symptoms of patients who called medical helpline services within 30-days before OHCA. Methods Patients unwitnessed by emergency medical services (EMS) aged ≥18 years during their OHCA were identified from the Danish Cardiac Arrest Registry (2014-2018) and linked to phone records from the 24-h emergency helpline (1-1-2) and out-of-hours medical helpline (1813-Medical Helpline) in Copenhagen before the arrest. The registered symptoms were categorized into chest pain; breathing problems; central nervous system (CNS)-related/unconsciousness; abdominal/back/urinary; psychiatric/addiction; infection/fever; trauma/exposure; and unspecified (diverse from the beforementioned categories). Analyses were divided by the time-period of calls (0-7 days/8-30 days preceding OHCA) and call type (1-1-2/1813-Medical Helpline). Results Of all OHCA patients, 18% (974/5442) called helpline services (males 56%, median age 76 years[Q1-Q3:65-84]). Among these, 816 had 1145 calls with registered symptoms. The most common symptom categories (except for unspecified, 33%) were breathing problems (17%), trauma/exposure (17%), CNS/unconsciousness (15%), abdominal/back/urinary (12%), and chest pain (9%). Most patients (61%) called 1813-Medical Helpline, especially for abdominal/back/urinary (17%). Patients calling 1-1-2 had breathing problems (24%) and CNS/unconsciousness (23%). Nearly half of the patients called within 7 days before their OHCA, and CNS/unconsciousness (19%) was the most registered. The unspecified category remained the most common during both time periods (32%;33%) and call type (24%;39%). Conclusions Among patients who called medical helplines services up to 30-days before their OHCA, besides symptoms being highly varied (unspecified (33%)), breathing problems (17%) were the most registered symptom-specific category.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Early warning signs
- Emergency medical services
- Medical helpline
- Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA)
- Prodromal symptoms