Antiarrhythmic Drugs for Non-Shockable-Turned-Shockable Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: The Amiodarone, Lidocaine or Placebo Study (ALPS)
Background—Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) commonly presents with non-shockable rhythms (asystole and pulseless electrical activity (PEA)). Whether antiarrhythmic drugs are safe and effective when these evolve to shockable rhythms (ventricular fibrillation/pulseless ventricular tachycardia (VF/VT)) during resuscitation is not known.
Methods—Adults with non-traumatic OHCA, vascular access and VF/VT anytime after ≥1 shock(s) were prospectively randomized, double-blind, to receive amiodarone, lidocaine or placebo by paramedics. Patients presenting with initial shock-refractory VF/VT were previously reported. The current study was a pre-specified analysis in a separate cohort who initially presented with non-shockable OHCA and were randomized upon subsequently developing shock-refractory VF/VT. The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge; secondary outcomes included discharge functional status and adverse drug-related effects.
Results—Of 37,889 patients with OHCA, 3,026 with initial VF/VT and 1,063 with initial non-shockable-turned-shockable rhythms were treatment-eligible, randomized and received their assigned drug. Baseline characteristics among non-shockable-turned-shockable patients were balanced across treatment arms except that placebo recipients included fewer men and were less likely to receive bystander-CPR. Active-drug recipients in this cohort required fewer shocks, supplemental doses of their assigned drug and ancillary antiarrhythmic drugs than placebo-recipients (p<0.05). In all, 16 (4.1%) amiodarone, 11 (3.1%) lidocaine and 6 (1.9%) placebo-treated patients survived to hospital discharge (p=0.24). There was no significant interaction of treatment assignment and discharge survival with the initiating OHCA rhythm (asystole, PEA, or VF/VT); survival in each of these categories was consistently higher with active-drugs, though the trends were not statistically significant. Adjusted absolute differences (95% confidence interval) in survival from non-shockable-turned-shockable arrhythmias with amiodarone vs placebo were 2.3% (-0.3, 4.8), p=0.08 and for lidocaine vs placebo 1.2% (-1.1, 3.6), p=0.30. Over one-half of these survivors were functionally independent or required minimal assistance. Drug-related adverse effects were infrequent.
Conclusions—Outcome from non-shockable-turned-shockable OHCA is poor, but not invariably fatal. Though not statistically significant, point estimates for survival were greater after amiodarone or lidocaine than placebo, without increased risk of adverse effects or disability, and consistent with previously observed favorable trends from treatment of initial shock-refractory VF/VT with these drugs. Together the findings may signal a clinical benefit that invites further investigation.
Clinical Trial Registration—URL: ClinicalTrials.gov Unique Identifier: NCT01401647
- Received March 27, 2017.
- Revision received August 6, 2017.
- Accepted August 31, 2017.