Anatomy of a 999 call

Untreated ventricular fibrillation is lethal, a patient’s probability of survival ebbing away at around 10% per minute.

Bystander CPR is key initial link in the chain of survival and will buy time until a life-saving defibrillatory shock can be delivered. The interactions between the 999 call-maker and the ambulance service call-taker influence the time taken for this initial CPR to begin. There is great variability in the time taken up by call-maker/call-taker interaction prior to CPR starting and we wanted to know why this is the case, and how we could minimise this time.

Scott James – Foundation Doctor member of RRG has enlisted the help of Professor Holly Branigan (Chair in Psychology of Language and Cognition) and Dr Ellen Bard (Reader in Psychology and Linguistics) at the University of Edinburgh to dissect the anatomy of a 999 call. What can we do to make the diagnosis of OHCA as fast and accurate as possible, and how do we get to CPR quickly?

Read our paper published in Resuscitation here: