Thrombolytics in CPR. Current advantages in cardiopulmonary resuscitation

F Spöhr, B W Böttiger
Minerva Anestesiologica 2005, 71 (6): 291-6
Cardiac arrest carries a very poor prognosis. More than 70% of cardiac arrests are caused by acute myocardial infarction (AMI) or massive pulmonary embolism (PE). Thrombolysis during CPR has two major effects: first, it causally treats the condition that caused cardiac arrest and second, it has been shown to have beneficial effects on the microcirculatory cerebral reperfusion after cardiac arrest. However, this treatment has been widely withheld mainly because of the fear of severe bleeding complications. We reviewed the currently available in- and out-of-hospital studies on thrombolysis during CPR. Most studies found that thrombolytic therapy during CPR improves the chance for a restoration of spontaneous circulation in patients suffering from cardiac arrest and may even result in a better outcome. In addition, the neurological condition of surviving patients may be markedly improved by thrombolysis. Although thrombolytic therapy is associated with a risk of bleeding complications, currently available data do not suggest an increase of bleeding complications if thrombolysis is administered during CPR. Recently, a large randomized multicentre study has started to assess the efficacy and safety of thrombolysis during prehospital CPR.

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