Tag Archive for: Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac Arrest, Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC) With No ST-Segment Elevation on ECG. Now What?

15 Dec
December 15, 2016

cardiac-arrestBackground: The American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology (AHA/ACC) give a Class I recommendation for activation of the cardiac catheterization lab in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) whom ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is present.  The evidence for early cardiac catheterization in patients after cardiac arrest, with ROSC and no STEMI is a bit more controversial.  The most recent 2015 AHA/ACC guidelines recommend, “it may be reasonable,” to perform an emergent cardiac catheterization in select patients without STEMI. Read more →

Beyond ACLS: Pre-Charging the Defibrillator

24 Mar
March 24, 2016

Post Written By: Sam Ghali (Twitter: @EM_RESUS)

Beyond ACLS - Pre-Charging the DefibrillatorIn cardiac arrest care there has been a lot of focus over the years on limiting interruptions in chest compressions during CPR. In fact, this concept has become a major focus of the current AHA Guidelines. Why? Because we know interruptions are bad [1,2]. One particular aspect of CPR that has gotten a lot of attention in this regard is the peri-shock period. It has been well established that longer pre- and peri-shock pauses are independently associated with decreased chance of survival [3,4].

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Classic Journal Review: The OPALS Study

14 Jan
January 14, 2016


The Ontario Prehospital Advanced Life Support (OPALS) Study

Background: Sudden cardiac arrest is common and, obviously, very bad. In the US, there are about 500,000 cardiac arrests each year. About half of these cardiac arrests are OHCA and the survival rate is pretty poor. The most recent survival estimates put it at 7 – 9.5% in most communities. About 10-12 years ago, the American Heart Association built the 4-step “chain-of-survival.”

  • Step One – Early access to emergency care
  • Step Two – Early CPR
  • Step Three – Early defibrillation

There is little debate about these three steps as the sum of the data supports that they lead to better outcomes.

The 4th step in the chain, however, is slightly more controversial; early advanced care. This basically means rapid access to ACLS type resuscitation skills (intubation and intravenous drug therapy). Despite it being the 4th step, ACLS has little evidence to defend it.  Read more →

The Role of TEE in Cardiac Arrest

04 Jan
January 4, 2016

TEEBackground: Sudden cardiac arrest has very poor outcomes; less than 11% of patients in cardiac arrest in the Emergency Department survive to discharge from the hospital. The management of cardiac arrest is algorithmic because providers have limited tools at their disposal and limited knowledge of the patient’s past medical history. EKG is limited in its evaluation of cardiac function. Pulses are often difficult to palpate. The blood pressure cuff is often unreliable. As a result, there is a sense of futility when running resuscitations.

Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) in the Emergency Department gave providers another tool to help guide management through direct visualization of cardiac activity, tamponade physiology, right heart strain, etc . It also offers prognostic value if there is no cardiac activity upon arrival to the Emergency Department on TTE, there is a near 0% chance of survival. However, TTE has its limitations: obesity, emphysema, poor windows, interrupts compressions, gel gets everywhere.

Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) provides significant benefits when compared to TTE in the management of cardiac arrest in the emergency department. Read more →

Beyond ACLS: From CPR to Cath – The New ACC/AHA Cardiac Arrest Algorithm

13 Jul
July 13, 2015

Cardiac ArrestSo you are minding your own business when a 60 year old patient comes in after witnessed Out-Of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (OHCA).  She had a witnessed arrest, good bystander CPR and the prehospital team shocked her out of ventricular fibrillation (vfib), intubated her and brought her in after 25 min of total down time and 15 min of CPR.  She is now neurologically stunned but with a stable blood pressure.  You get an EKG which shows normal sinus rhythm with non-specific ST and T wave changes(NSR NSSTTW changes)  basic labs, and are hunting for a source.  Labs, chest x-ray (CXR), point of care ultrasound (POCUS) by you doesn’t reveal an alternate source to explain the arrest. You start hypothermic protocol and are thinking of sending her to the ICU.  Or maybe not?  What about the cath lab?  Your resident recalls some early data from European studies cathing some of these patients that trended towards favorable results and wants to know how you do things here?  The new ACC guidelines just published this month, July 2015 are here to answer that very question. Read more →

Three Predictors of Success in Cardiac Arrest

25 Jan
January 25, 2014

DefibrillationThe goal of resuscitation in cardiac arrest is to respond in a timely, effective manner that leads to good patient outcomes.  Resuscitation is not taking an ACLS and BLS course and going through the motions of a code. There have been several studies looking at the quality of intubation and CPR, and their association with good patient outcomes. Read more →

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