"Like a rainy weather inside of me": Qualitative content analysis of telephone consultations concerning back pain preceding out-of-hospital cardiac arrest

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Introduction: Cardiac arrest patients presenting with back pain are at risk of not receiving the appropriate help when calling emergency medical services. In telephone consultations regarding patients with back pain pre-ceding an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, we investigated how communication between caller and call-taker influenced the call-taker's interpretation of back pain descriptions and decision-making about choice of response.Method: The study was conducted using 20 recorded phone calls from 17 patients who contacted the Copenhagen Emergency Medical Services (Denmark) reporting back pain up to 24 hours before an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Qualitative content analysis was applied.Results: Two main categories emerged: (1) reasons, including subcategories: reported conditions, descriptions of conditions, patient's interpretation of condition and patient's own remedial actions; and (2) considerations, including subcategories: assessment of the severity, call-taker's interpretation of the condition, arguments for chosen response and conditions not facilitating further communication by the call-taker.Conclusion: In telephone consultations regarding patients with back pain preceding an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest the communication was influenced by the communicative preconditions of the call-taker. Communication in consultations where ambulances were not dispatched was characterized by complex descriptions of symptoms not easily fitting into the health system's interpretations of conditions warranting an urgent response.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101200
JournalInternational Emergency Nursing
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Out -of -hospital cardiac arrest, Back pain, Early warning signs, Symptoms, Emergency medical services, Communication, Qualitative content analysis, Systems theory, CARE

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