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Proportion of out of hospital adult non traumatic cardiac arrest presenting as a convulsion
Title of the conference
Gemeinsame Jahrestagung Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Intensivmedizin, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Pulmonale Hypertonie, Gesellschaft für klinische Ernährung der Schweiz, Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Notfall- und Rettungsmedizin, Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft für Intensivpflege, Gast: Schweizerische Interessengemeinschaft Notfallpflege
Interlaken, Schweiz, 8.-10. September 2011
Swiss Medical Forum
Introduction: The majority of convulsions are due to an epilepticseizure or a convulsive syncope. In some cases, this is the firstsymptom of an out of hospital cardiac arrest (OH-CA).Objective: This study was aimed to measure the proportion of adultnon traumatic OH-CA presenting as a convulsion.Methodology: We prospectively collected all incoming calls with anout-of-hospital non traumatic seizure as the chief complaint in patients>18 years during a 24-months period. Among these calls, we collectedcases identified as OH-CA by paramedics.Results: During the 24-months period, the EMS dispatch centerreceived 561 calls for an out-of-hospital non traumatic convulsion in anadult. Twelve cases were ultimately classified as CA. In this group, onebystander spontaneously reported that the patient was known forepilepsy. The incidence of OH-CA presenting as convulsions wastherefore 2.1% of all calls for convulsion. Over the same period, theEMS dispatch center received 1035 calls related to an adult nontraumatic OH-CA. Therefore the rate of OH-CA presenting as aconvulsion represented 1.2% of all adult non traumatic OH-CA.Conclusion: Only 12 cases out of the 531 calls for non traumatic adultconvulsions were confirmed OH-CA (2.1%). Nevertheless, this unusualpresentation of OH-CA must be recognized by dispatchers, even whena patient is reported by bystander as a known epileptic. Dispatchersshould keep bystanders on line or call them back before paramedics'arrival, and have them confirm the progressive return of a normalpattern of breathing and state of consciousness; if not, they shouldencourage when necessary bystander to initiate CPR. For dispatchers,a past medical history of epilepsy should not be regarded as sufficientinformation to rule-out OH-CA. It is mandatory that known epilepticpatients should be monitored in the same way as non-epileptic patients.
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