Out of hospital cardiac arrest and community first response: International best practice, national consultation and prospective evaluation

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly ceases to pump blood around the body. The term 'Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest' (OHCA) is used to describe incidents where cardiac arrest occurs unexpectedly and is responded to by statutory emergency medical services (EMS). OHCA causes approximately 1,900 unexpected deaths in Ireland every year. Death from OHCA is frequent but not inevitable. If OHCA is recognised quickly, good quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is started immediately, and a defibrillator is used to shock the heart back into being able to pump blood around the body, the chance of survival can be dramatically increased.

In Ireland, we live in a wide variety of settings, from inner cities to one-off houses in rural countryside and the reality is that EMS cannot reach every person on time every time. As a result, individuals and groups have provided a community response to OHCA for many years. While we collect data on OHCA management through our national register, information on community response is lacking. The aim of this project is make collection of data on community response a routine part of OHCA data collection and identify opportunities to strengthen community response in Ireland. We will investigate how OHCA community response works internationally and consult with Irish community responders and EMS on how data should be collected and how community response can best be supported.  Information generated will enable us to fully understand the challenges to community response in Ireland and help service providers to work with communities to overcome them. A data collection method will be trialled, and the acceptability and usefulness of the method will be assessed. This process will lead to a data collection process for community response which is based on evidence, nationally agreed and modified to make it workable and sustainable in the longer term.


Award Date
24 February 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Ms Siobhan Masterson
Host Institution
National University of Ireland, Galway
Applied Partnership Awards