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Outcomes for in-hospital cardiac arrest for COVID-19 patients at a rural hospital in Southern California.



In-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) carries a high mortality and providing resuscitation to COVID-19 patients presents additional challenges for emergency physicians. Our objective was to describe outcomes of COVID-19 patients suffering IHCA at a rural hospital in Southern California.


Single-center retrospective observational study. A hospital registry of COVID-19 patients was queried for all patients who suffered IHCA and received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) between May 1st and July 31st, 2020. A manual chart review was performed to obtain patient demographics, oxygen requirement prior to cardiac arrest (CA), details of the resuscitation including presence of an emergency physician, and final disposition.


Twenty-one patients were identified, most of whom were Hispanic, male, and aged 50-70. The most common medical comorbidities were diabetes and hypertension. Most patients suffered respiratory arrest, with an initial rhythm of pulseless electrical activity or asystole. Return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) was achieved in 3/9 patients already receiving mechanical ventilation, but all 3 expired within the following 24 h. ROSC was achieved in 10/12 patients not already intubated, though most also expired within a few days. The only 2 patients who survived to discharge suffered respiratory arrest after their oxygen delivery device dislodged.


At a small rural hospital with limited resources and a predominantly Hispanic population, cardiac arrest in a COVID-19 patient portends an extremely poor prognosis. A better appreciation of these outcomes should help inform emergency providers and patients when discussing code status and attempts at resuscitation, particularly in resource limited settings.

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