Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Significant Increase in Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL): YPLL increased from 52,044 years during 2014–2015 to 88,788 years during 2020–2021, indicating a significant rise in premature deaths due to nontraumatic out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCAs) in Chicago.
  2. Decrease in Mean Age: The mean age of individuals experiencing OHCAs in Chicago progressively decreased from 64.7 years during 2014–2015 to 62.7 years during 2020–2021, suggesting younger populations are increasingly affected.
  3. Disproportionate Impact on Black Men: The largest decrease in mean age occurred among Black men, highlighting a racial disparity in the impact of OHCAs.
  4. Contributing Factors: The increase in nonshockable rhythm cases with a substantial decrease in mean age suggests potential links to opioid-related overdoses and other noncardiac etiologies.
  5. Implications for Public Health: These findings emphasize the need for increased public awareness, bystander intervention education, and research to understand and address the underlying causes of these trends.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Shaveta Khosla,

Suggested Citation

Khosla S, Del Rios M, Kotini-Shah P, Weber J, Vanden Hoek T. Years of Potential Life Lost and Mean Age of Adults Experiencing Nontraumatic, Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrests — Chicago, 2014–2021. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2024;73:199–203. DOI:


This article discusses the troubling trends in nontraumatic OHCAs in Chicago between 2014 and 2021, including a significant rise in YPLL and a decrease in the mean age of affected individuals. It highlights the disproportionate impact on Black men and points to opioid-related overdoses and other noncardiac causes as potential contributing factors.


The study utilized data from Chicago emergency medical services, focusing on nontraumatic OHCAs in adults. It calculated YPLL using a standard age of 75 years and assessed mean age changes, rhythms, and presumed etiologies for cardiac arrests.


The findings indicate a shift towards younger populations experiencing OHCAs, especially among Black men. The increase in cases with nonshockable rhythms suggests a role for opioid overdoses and other factors that warrant further investigation.


There’s a critical need for increased public awareness, education on bystander interventions, and research into the causes behind the observed trends in OHCAs. Addressing these issues could help reduce mortality and improve public health outcomes.

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