September 9, 2019

Background: Epinephrine (adrenaline) has been used in advanced life support in cardiac arrest since the early 1960s. Despite the routine recommendation for its use, evidence to support administration is less than ideal.  Although it is clear from multiple observational studies that epinephrine improves return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and short-term survival, most evidence suggests an absence of improvements in survival with good neurologic outcomes.  In cardiac arrest we want to take advantage of the alpha effects of epinephrine, including peripheral vasoconstriction, and therefore increasing aortic diastolic pressure, which in turn helps augment coronary and cerebral blood flow.  On the other hand, we want to avoid the potentially detrimental beta effects including dysrhythmias, decreased microcirculation, and increased myocardial oxygen demand all of which increase the chances of recurrent cardiac arrest and decreased neurologic recovery.  The only two interventions in cardiac arrest that have shown improve survival with good neurologic outcomes continue to be high-quality CPR and early defibrillation. The debate over the utility of epinephrine in OHCA has been ongoing for several years now and many providers are left with the ultimate question of what to do with epinephrine in OHCA.

August 5, 2019

Background: Epinephrine (adrenaline) remains a central part of management of OHCA in ACLS guidelines. Recent studies (i.e. PARAMEDIC-2) have raised concerns about the efficacy and possible deleterious effects of epinephrine on both overall survival and long-term neurological outcomes. Other observational trials have suggested that there may be a time dependent effect of epinephrine on survival, with earlier timing of epinephrine improving outcomes, and later timing of epinephrine causing deleterious effects[2]. This trial attempts to analyze the association between timing and dose of epinephrine given on survival and neurologic outcomes of patients with OHCA.

January 25, 2018

Background: Placement of vascular access for administration of resuscitation drugs and fluids is a common procedure in the management of out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). While intravenous (IV) placement has been the standard approach for decades, intraosseous (IO) access is rapid and safe and may be the preferred approach due to fact that the bone marrow does not collapse during shock states as peripheral veins often do. Despite it’s advantages, there are concerns about IO placement because of the potential for drugs to pool in the marrow and not circulate. Prior studies have shown an association with tibial IO placement and decreased rate of ROSC though no association with worse neurologic outcomes (Feinstein 2017).

March 23, 2017

Background: The two most important things that we can do in cardiac arrest to improve survival and neurologically intact outcomes is high quality CPR, with limited interruptions and early defibrillation. In the case of the former, the 2015 AHA/ACC CPR updates recommended a compression rate of 100 -120/min, a depth of 2 – 2.4in, allowing full recoil, and minimizing pauses. This is a lot to remember during a stressful code situation and one way many providers are offloading themselves cognitively is by the use of mechancical CPR (mCPR) devices.  In theory these devices compress at a fixed rate, and depth, with the added benefit that the machine simply does not tire out.  Additionally, use of this device allows another provider to be available for other procedures and interventions. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis in  looked at five randomized clinical trials with over 10,000 patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) (Gates 2015).  They concluded that there was no difference in ROSC, survival or survival with good neurological outcomes with the use of these devices compared to manual CPR. It is important to state that none of these studies showed increased harm either.  A new paper just published in Circulation however, argues that mCPR during OHCA was associated with lower neurologically intact survival.

December 15, 2016

Background: 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.
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