Characteristics of anovel citizen rescue system for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the Dutch province of Limburg: relation to incidence and survival

R. W. M. Pijls*, P. J. Nelemans, B. M. Rahel, A. P. M. Gorgels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background We evaluated the characteristics of anovel text message system notifying citizen rescuers in cases of out-of-hospital circulatory arrest (OHCA) in the Dutch province of Limburg, including their relation to incidence and survival.

Methods and results The study area comprised 2,153km(2) (831mi(2)) with 1.12mio. inhabitants. During the 2-year study period approximately 9,000 volunteers were registered, about 60% male, 59% with no experience in actual resuscitation, and 27.4% healthcare professionals. The system was not activated in 557 of 1,085 (51.3%) OHCAs, frequently because there was no resuscitation setting present yet at the time of the emergency call. Rescuers were notified on 1,076 occasions, with no resuscitation setting being present in 548 of 1,076 (50.9%) notifications. OHCA incidence rates were 67 per 100,000 inhabitants per year, 95 per 100,000 men and 39 per 100,000 women standardised for age with the European Standard Population. The mean number of notifications per volunteer was 1.3 times per year. Higher volunteer density was related to increased survival if at least one volunteer attended the cardiac arrest. If the density exceeded 0.75%, survival increased to 34.8% compared to 20.6% at adensity below 0.25%.

Conclusion In about half of OHCAs needing resuscitation the system was activated and in approximately half of the notifications resuscitation proved to be justified. Volunteers are notified 1.3 times per year on average. Survival was related to volunteer density, suggesting that further improvement can be achieved by increasing the number of citizen rescuers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-107
Number of pages8
JournalNetherlands Heart Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Out-of-hospital circulatory arrest
  • Incidence
  • Survival
  • Citizen rescuer

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