Mechanical advances in cardiopulmonary resuscitation

K Lurie, P Plaisance, P Sukhum, C Soleil
Current Opinion in Critical Care 2001, 7 (3): 170-5
Challenged by the continued high mortality rates for patients in cardiac arrest, the American Heart Association and the European Resuscitation Council developed a new set of guidelines in 2000 to help advance several new and promising cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) techniques and devices. This is the first time these organizations have taken such a bold move, in part because of the poor results with standard closed-chest cardiac massage. The new techniques, interposed abdominal counterpulsation and active compression decompression CPR, each provide greater blood flow to the vital organs in animal models of CPR and lead to higher blood pressures in patients in cardiac arrest. In some clinical studies, both techniques have resulted in a significant increase in survival after cardiac arrest in comparison with standard CPR. Three of the four new CPR devices that were recommended in the new guidelines also provide superior vital organ blood flow and increased blood pressures in comparison with standard CPR. The three devices that improve the efficiency of CPR are the circumferential vest, an active compression decompression CPR device, and an inspiratory impedance valve used in combination with the active compression decompression CPR device. The fourth device type, one that compresses the thorax using an automated mechanical piston compression mechanism, was recommended to reduce the number of personnel required to perform CPR. However, no studies on the automated mechanical compression devices have showed an improvement in hemodynamic variables or survival in comparison with standard CPR. Taken together, these new technologies represent an important step forward in the evolution of CPR from a pair of hands to devices designed to enhance CPR efficiency. Each of these advances is described, and the recent literature about each of them is reviewed.

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