Despite numerous efforts, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) survival has not significantly increased in recent decades. The first telephone-assisted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (T-CPR) studies were published in the 1980s, but only in the last decade has T‑CPR been implemented in dispatch centers. T‑CPR is still not available in all dispatch centers and no national or international T‑CPR recommendations are available.
Studies from PubMed were identified and evaluated. Preliminary information from the European Dispatch Center Survey (EDiCeS) is also included.
In all, 42 studies were included. T‑CPR is implemented in 87.6 % of those dispatch centers which have joined the not-yet published EDiCeS. According to German Resuscitation Registry data, about 10 % of OHCA patients received T‑CPR in 2014. Agonal breathing is the leading cause for nonrecognition of OHCA by the dispatcher. Sensitivity of OHCA recognition by the dispatcher is about 75 %, whereby 8–45 % of these patients were not in cardiac arrest. The time interval from call to first compression is 140–328 s. Instructing rescue breathing by telephone is time consuming, leads to extensive hands-off times, and often to ineffective ventilation; therefore, rescue breathing is not indicated in adults with primary cardiac arrest. Studies showed improved survival with standardized T‑CPR implementation.
T-CPR is established in many dispatch centers. However, emergency call interrogation and T‑CPR vary between dispatch centers and are often performed without evaluation. International recommendations with standardized quality control are necessary and may lead to improved survival.