UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: EMS

Title: What can we learn from suicide related cardiac arrests?

Keywords: Suicide, EMS, prevention, causes (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/20/2024 by Jennifer Guyther, MD (Updated: 5/25/2024)
Click here to contact Jennifer Guyther, MD

7,365 suicide related cardiac arrests were included in this study that included a several year study period in Queensland Australia.  Cardiac arrests where resuscitation was attempted by EMS and where circumstances were concerning for suicide were included.  ROSC rates were 28.6% with survival at 30 days being only 8%.  30-day survival for medical cardiac arrests in this jurisdiction was 16.4%.  Overdose and poisoning had the best survival rate (19.9%), while hanging and chemical asphyxia were the worst (7.3 and 1.1% respectively).

Bottom line: Survival rates for suicide related out of hospital cardiac arrest were worse compared to other causes of medical arrest.  Suicide prevention should become a focus with emphasis on early identification and treatment of people at high risk of suicide.  While EMS is well trained on the management of cardiac arrest, training should also emphasize suicide risk assessment and identification.


Doan et al.  Suicide related out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Queensland, Australia: temporal trends of characteristics and outcomes over 14 years.  Prehospital Emergency Care. 2023.