Mechanical devices for cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Jane G Wigginton, Adam H Miller, Fernando L Benitez, Paul E Pepe
Current Opinion in Critical Care 2005, 11 (3): 219-23

PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: For over 40 years, manual chest compressions have been the foundation of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and recent studies have clearly reconfirmed the hemodynamic significance of delivering consistent, high-quality, infrequently-interrupted chest compressions. However, there remain multiple inadequacies in the actual delivery of manual chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. One potential solution is use of adjunct mechanical devices.

RECENT FINDINGS: Two different methods of accessory chest compression techniques recently have demonstrated enhanced short-term survival. The active compression-decompression device is a hand-held, manually operated suction device applied to the center of the chest wall. In tandem with an impedance threshold (airway) device, active compression-decompression has shown a 65% improvement in 24-hour survival rates (compared with standard cardiopulmonary resuscitation) in a randomized out-of-hospital clinical trial (n = 210). The second device, called Auto-Pulse CPR is an automated machine that uses a load-distributing, broad compression band that is applied across the entire anterior chest. A recent out-of-hospital retrospective case-control study (n = 162) also revealed improved short-term survival.

SUMMARY: High quality chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation are critical elements in effecting successful resuscitation following a cardiac arrest. Recent studies utilizing adjunct mechanical devices have not only revealed significant increases in the effectiveness of chest compressions, including improved hemodynamics in both animal models and human studies, but also improvements in short-term human survival in the clinical setting. It is hoped that these promising findings will eventually be corroborated in terms of improved neurologically intact, long-term patient survival. Clinical trials are currently underway to validate such efficacy.

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