Résumé : In the current climate of rising healthcare cost, resuscitation efforts performed outside the hospital are critically evaluated because of their limited success rate in some settings. As part of a quality assurance program between the 1st January 1991 and 31st December 1993, six centres of the Belgian CPCR study group prospectively registered cardiac arrest (CA) patients and their treatment according to the Utstein Style recommendations. In the group (n = 511) of patients initially found in ventricular fibrillation (VF) a significantly better survival rate was observed for those patients who received a 1st defibrillatory shock by the 1st tier (n = 142 (27.8%)) as compared to those defibrillated after arrival of the 2nd tier (n = 369 (72.2%)). Median time to delivery of the first shock was significantly shorter (5 min) in the 1st tier group. In a second part of the study we describe long-term management of the 28 surviving VF patients, treated by the single EMS system of Brugge between 1st January 1991 and 30th April 1995: only 6 patients eventually received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), whereas coronary revascularization was performed in 9 patients, and 3 patients were discharged on amiodarone only. Satisfactory long-term survival after out-of-hospital VF can be achieved by an early shock followed by advanced life support and appropriate definitive treatment.