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Termination-of-resuscitation rule for emergency department physicians treating out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients: an observational cohort study

Yoshikazu Goto1*, Tetsuo Maeda1 and Yumiko Nakatsu Goto2

Author Affiliations

1 Section of Emergency Medicine, Kanazawa University Hospital, 13-1 Takaramachi, Kanazawa 920-8641, Japan

2 Department of Cardiology, Yawata Medical Center, 12-7 I Yawata, Komatsu 923-8551, Japan

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Critical Care 2013, 17:R235  doi:10.1186/cc13058

Published: 13 October 2013



The 2010 cardiopulmonary resuscitation guidelines recommend emergency medical services (EMS) personnel consider prehospital termination-of-resuscitation (TOR) rules for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) following basic life support and/or advanced life support efforts in the field. However, the rate of implementation of international TOR rules is still low. Here, we aimed to develop and validate a new TOR rule for emergency department physicians to replace the international TOR rules for EMS personnel in the field. This rule aims to guide physicians in deciding whether to withhold further resuscitation attempts or terminate on-going resuscitation immediately after patient arrival.


We analyzed data prospectively collected in a nationwide Utstein-style Japanese database between 2005 and 2009, from 495,607 adult patients with OHCA. Patients were divided into development (n = 390,577) and validation (n = 105,030) groups. The main outcome measures were specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for the newly developed TOR rule.


We developed a new TOR rule that includes 3 criteria based on the results of multivariate logistic regression analysis for predicting a 1-month death after OHCA: no prehospital return of spontaneous circulation (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 25.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 24.7–26.9), unshockable initial rhythm (adjusted OR, 2.76; 95% CI, 2.54–3.01), and unwitnessed by bystanders (adjusted OR, 2.18; 95% CI, 2.09–2.28). The specificity, PPV, and area under the ROC curve for this new TOR rule for predicting 1-month death in the validation group were 0.903 (95% CI, 0.894–0.911), 0.993 (95% CI, 0.992–0.993), and 0.874 (95% CI, 0.872–0.876), respectively.


We developed and validated a new TOR rule for emergency department physicians consisting of 3 prehospital variables (no prehospital ROSC, unshockable initial rhythm, and unwitnessed by bystanders) that is a >99% predictor of very poor outcome. However, the implementation of this new rule in other countries or EMS systems requires further validation studies.