Author(s): Grsner JT, Bossaert L
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Abstract Major European institutions report cardiovascular disease (CVD) as the first cause of death in adults, with cardiac arrest and sudden death due to coronary ischaemia as the primary single cause. Global incidence of CVD is decreasing in most European countries, due to prevention, lifestyle and treatment. Mortality of acute coronary events inside the hospital decreases more rapidly than outside the hospital. To improve the mortality of cardiac arrest outside the hospital, reliable epidemiological and process figures are essential: "we can only manage what we can measure". Europe is a patchwork of 47 countries (total population of 830 million), with a 10-fold difference in incidence of coronary heart disease between North and South, East and West, and a 5-fold difference in number of EMS-treated cardiac arrest (range 17-53/1000,000/year). Epidemiology of cardiac arrest should not be calculated as a European average, but it is appropriate to describe the incidence of cardiac arrest, the resuscitation process, and the outcome in each of the European regions, for benchmarking and quality management. Epidemiological reports of cardiac arrest should specify definitions, nominator (number of cases) and denominator (study population). Recently some regional registries in North America, Japan and Europe fulfilled these conditions. The European Registry of Cardiac Arrest (EuReCa) has the potential to achieve these objectives on a pan-European scale. For operational applications, the Utstein definition of "Cardiac arrest" is used which includes the potential of survival. For application in community health, the WHO definition of "sudden death" is frequently used, describing the mode of death. There is considerable overlap between both definitions. But this explains that no single method can provide all information. Integrating data from multiple sources (local, national, multinational registries and surveys, death certificates, post-mortem reports, community statistics, medical records) may create a holistic picture of cardiac arrest in the community. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Best Pract Res Clin Anaesthesiol
and referenced in Journal of Nursing & Care