The association between arterial-end-tidal carbon dioxide difference and outcomes after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

Aleksandra A. Abrahamowicz, Catherine R. Counts, Kyle R. Danielson, Natalie E. Bulger, Charles Maynard, David J. Carlbom, Erik R. Swenson, Andrew J. Latimer, Betty Yang, Michael R. Sayre, Nicholas J. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aim: We sought to determine if the difference between PaCO2 and ETCO2 is associated with hospital mortality and neurologic outcome following out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of adult patients who achieved return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) after OHCA over 3 years. The primary exposure was the PaCO2-ETCO2 difference on hospital arrival. The primary outcome was survival to hospital discharge. The secondary outcome was favorable neurologic status at discharge. We used receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves to determine discrimination threshold and multivariate logistic regression to examine the association between the PaCO2-ETCO2 difference and outcome. Results: Of 698 OHCA patients transported to the hospitals, 381 had sustained ROSC and qualifying ETCO2 and PaCO2 values. Of these, 160 (42%) survived to hospital discharge. Mean ETCO2 was 39 mmHg among survivors and 43 mmHg among non-survivors. Mean PaCO2-ETCO2 was 6.8 mmHg and 9.0 mmHg (p < 0.05) for survivors and non-survivors. After adjustment for Utstein characteristics, a higher PaCO2-ETCO2 difference on hospital arrival was not associated with hospital mortality (OR 0.99, 95% CI: 0.97–1.0) or neurological outcome. Area under the ROC curve or PaCO2-ETCO2 difference was 0.56 (95% CI 0.51–0.62) compared with 0.58 (95% CI 0.52–0.64) for ETCO2. Conclusion: Neither PaCO2-ETCO2 nor ETCO2 were strong predictors of survival or neurologic status at hospital discharge. While they may be useful to guide ventilation and resuscitation, these measures should not be used for prognostication after OHCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-9
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Arterial carbon dioxide
  • Cardiac arrest
  • End tidal carbon dioxide
  • OHCA
  • Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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