Thrombolytic therapy during cardiopulmonary resuscitation

S A Snyder-Ramos, J Motsch, E Martin, B W Böttiger
Minerva Anestesiologica 2002, 68 (4): 186-91
Recently, efforts have been undertaken to investigate the effects of thrombolysis during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CRP) in patients suffering from massive pulmonary embolism or acute myocardial infarction. In up to 70% of patients with cardiac arrest, one of these two diseases is the underlying cause of deterioration. Nevertheless, thrombolysis has not been conducted during CPR because of the fear of severe bleeding complications. However, an increasing number of clinical studies suggest that thrombolytic therapy during CPR can contribute to haemodynamic stabilisation and survival in patients with massive pulmonary embolism and acute myocardial infarction, when conventional CPR procedures have been performed unsuccessfully. Apart from the specific causal action of thrombolytic agents at the site of pulmonary emboli and coronary thrombosis, experimental data indicate that thrombolysis during CPR can improve microcirculatory reperfusion, which may be most important in the brain. In accordance with these data, marked activation of blood coagulation without adequate activation of endogenous fibrinolysis has been demonstrated early after cardiac arrest. In summary, thrombolysis during CPR is presently a treatment strategy that can be performed on an individual basis in patients with pulmonary embolism or acute myocardial infarction. It may become a routine measure if positive results of randomised, controlled clinical trials will be available in the future.

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