4 years ago

Exploring spatial patterns of sudden cardiac arrests in the city of Toronto using Poisson kriging and Hot Spot analyses

Martin Bunch, Raymond Przybysz

by Raymond Przybysz, Martin Bunch


Our study looked at out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest events in the City of Toronto. These are relatively rare events, yet present a serious global clinical and public health problem. We report on the application of spatial methods and tools that, although relatively well known to geographers and natural resource scientists, need to become better known and used more frequently by health care researchers.

Materials and methods

Our data came from the population-based Rescu Epistry cardiac arrest database. We limited it to the residents of the City of Toronto who experienced sudden arrest in 2010. The data was aggregated at the Dissemination Area level, and population rates were calculated. Poisson kriging was carried out on one year of data using three different spatial weights. Kriging estimates were then compared in Hot Spot analyses.


Spatial analysis revealed that Poisson kriging can yield reliable rates using limited data of high quality. We observed the highest rates of sudden arrests in the north and central parts of Etobicoke, western parts of North York as well as the central and southwestern parts of Scarborough while the lowest rates were found in north and eastern parts of Scarborough, downtown Toronto, and East York as well as east central parts of North York. Influence of spatial neighbours on the results did not extend past two rings of adjacent units.


Poisson kriging has the potential to be applied to a wide range of healthcare research, particularly on rare events. This approach can be successfully combined with other spatial methods. More applied research, is needed to establish a wider acceptance for this method, especially among healthcare researchers and epidemiologists.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180721

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