July 16, 2015

Background: Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) occurs in the United States at a rate of nearly 300,000 individuals per year. Even more concerning is the high mortality rate which is associated with this. The majority of OHCA is due to cardiac etiology with the most common initial rhythm being ventricular fibrillation (VF). What we all know is that high-quality, limited interruption cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation are the hallmarks of successful neurologic outcomes in OHCA. For many who have heard me speak about ACLS, you have heard me say that these guidelines are created for the providers who do not perform resuscitation as part of their daily routine. For those of us in the trenches of the emergency department, we have to think beyond ACLS at times. Although VF typically responds very well to the standard energies of defibrillation, maybe in patients with higher body mass index or morbid obesity we need higher energies to achieve successful defibrillation.