Research Article

The Brighton resuscitation ambulances: a continuing experiment in prehospital care by ambulance staff.

Br Med J 1976; 2 doi: (Published 13 November 1976) Cite this as: Br Med J 1976;2:1161
  1. R S Briggs,
  2. P M Brown,
  3. M E Crabb,
  4. T J Cox,
  5. H W Ead,
  6. R A Hawkes,
  7. P W Jequier,
  8. D P Southall,
  9. R Grainger,
  10. J H Williams,
  11. D A Chamberlain


    Two ambulances from the existing fleet in Brighton and one in Hove are equipped with portable defibrillator-oscilloscope units. Selected attendants have been trained not only to defibrillate patients but also to perform endotracheal intubation and administer intravenous atropine and lignocaine for carefully defined indications. In the two years up to December 1975 the ambulances responded to 2253 calls which were considered possible emergencies. Retrospective analysis showed that half of these had been for patients with myocardial infarction, coronary insufficiency, or angina. The ambulances took a median time of five minutes to reach a patient. Attempts at resuscitation were made in 207 patients with circulatory arrest, of whom 160 had ventricular fibrillation. Coordinated rhythm was restored at least transiently in 66 patients, and 27 of them survived to leave hospital. Sixteen of the survivors had been in ventricular fibrillation before the arrival of the ambulance. The delay before admission to hospital was reduced: over 50% of patients carried in the ambulances were admitted within two hours of the onset of major symptoms. No extra ambulance staff have been employed for the scheme. The increased load on hospital services has been limited by encouraging a rational admission policy and also by early discharge.