Epinephrine during resuscitation of traumatic cardiac arrest and increased mortality: A post hoc analysis of prospective observational study

Ryo Yamamoto, Masaru Suzuki, Kei Hayashida, Jo Yoshizawa, Atsushi Sakurai, Nobuya Kitamura, Takashi Tagami, Taka Aki Nakada, Munekazu Takeda, Junichi Sasaki

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The beneficial effect of epinephrine during resuscitation from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) has been inconclusive, and potential harm has been suggested, particularly in trauma victims. Although no significant improvement in neurological outcomes has been found among resuscitated patients using epinephrine, including trauma patients, the use of epinephrine is recommended in the Advanced Trauma Life Support protocol. Given that the use of vasopressors was reported to be associated with increased mortality in patients with massive bleeding, the undesirable effects of epinephrine during the resuscitation of traumatic OHCA should be elucidated. We hypothesised that resuscitation with epinephrine would increase mortality in patients with OHCA following trauma. Methods: This study is a post-hoc analysis of a prospective, multicentre, observational study on patients with OHCA between January 2012 and March 2013. We included adult patients with traumatic OHCA who were aged ≥15 years and excluded those with missing survival data. Patient data were divided into epinephrine or no-epinephrine groups based on the use of epinephrine during resuscitation at the hospital. Propensity scores were developed to estimate the probability of being assigned to the epinephrine group using multivariate logistic regression analyses adjusted for known survival predictors. The primary outcome was survival 7 days after injury, which was compared among the two groups after propensity score matching. Results: Of the 1125 adults with traumatic OHCA during the study period, 1030 patients were included in this study. Among them, 822 (79.8%) were resuscitated using epinephrine, and 1.1% (9/822) in the epinephrine group and 5.3% (11/208) in the no-epinephrine group survived 7 days after injury. The use of epinephrine was significantly associated with decreased 7-day survival (odds ratio = 0.20; 95% CI = 0.08-0.48; P < 0.01), and this result was confirmed by propensity score-matching analysis, in which 178 matched pairs were examined (adjusted odds ratio = 0.11; 95% CI = 0.01-0.85; P = 0.02). Conclusions: The relationship between the use of epinephrine during resuscitation and decreased 7-day survival was found in patients with OHCA following trauma, and the propensity score-matched analyses validated the results. Resuscitation without epinephrine in traumatic OHCA should be further studied in a randomised controlled trial.

Original languageEnglish
Article number74
JournalScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 16


  • Epinephrine
  • Mortality
  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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