Prehospital Extracorporeal Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Published:December 15, 2022DOI:


      To evaluate the available published evidence of the effects of extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (ECPR) in the prehospital setting on clinical outcomes in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.


      A systematic review and meta-analysis designed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews an Meta-Analyses guidelines.


      In the prehospital setting.


      All randomized control trials (RCTs) and observational trials using pre-hospital ECPR in adult patients (>17 years).


      Prehospital ECPR.

      Measurements and Main Results

      The study authors searched Medline, Embase, and PUBMED for all RCTs and observational trials. The studies were assessed for clinical, methodologic, and statistical heterogeneity. The primary outcome was survival at hospital discharge. The study outcomes were aggregated using random-effects meta-analysis of means or proportions as appropriate. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation methodology was used to assess the quality of evidence. Four studies were included, with a total of 222 patients receiving prehospital ECPR (mean age = 51 years [95% CI 44-57], 81% of patients were male (CI 74-87), and 60% patients had a cardiac cause for their arrest (95% CI 43-76). Overall survival at discharge was 23.4% (95% CI 15.5-33.7; I2 = 62%). The pooled low-flow time was 61.1 minutes (95% CI 45.2-77.0; I2 = 97%). The quality of evidence was assessed to be low, and the overall risk of bias was assessed to be serious, with confounding being the primary source of bias.


      No definitive conclusions can be made as to the efficacy of prehospital ECPR in refractory cardiac arrest. Higher quality evidence is required.

      Key Words

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      Linked Article

      • Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation: pre-hospital or in-hospital cannulation?
        Journal of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Anesthesia
        • Preview
          Extracorporeal cardiopulmonary resuscitation (E-CPR) is the establishment of veno-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) during ongoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). E-CPR is the last rescue therapy when, despite high-quality conventional CPR, it is not possible to achieve the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). The probability of achieving ROSC and survival declines rapidly after ten minutes of resuscitation [1,2] and less than 1% of patients survive with a favorable neurological outcome after 35 minutes of conventional CPR [2].
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