Empiric tenecteplase is associated with increased return of spontaneous circulation and short term survival in cardiac arrest patients unresponsive to standard interventions

William P Bozeman, Douglas M Kleiner, Kevin L Ferguson
Resuscitation 2006, 69 (3): 399-406

BACKGROUND: Prospective and retrospective studies have shown that empiric use of fibrinolytic agents in sudden cardiac arrest is safe and may improve outcomes in sudden cardiac arrest. Use of fibrinolytic agents for this indication is increasing in response to these data.

METHODS: A prospective multicenter observational trial was performed in three emergency departments (EDs) to determine the proportion of patients that respond to empiric fibrinolysis with tenecteplase (TNK) after failing to respond to Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) measures. Cardiac arrest patients unresponsive to ACLS, who were given TNK by their treating physician, were enrolled in an outcome registry. Return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), survival, complications, and neurological outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS: Fifty patients received TNK after a mean of 30min of cardiac arrest and eight doses of ACLS medications. One hundred and thirteen concurrent control patients received standard ACLS measures. ROSC occurred in 26% of TNK patients (95% confidence interval (CI) 16-40%) compared to 12.4% (95% CI 6.9-20%) among ACLS controls (p=.04); 12% (4.5-24%) of TNK patients survived to admission compared to none in the control group (p=.0007); 4% (0.5-14%) survived to 24h (p=NS); and 4% (0.5-14%) survived to hospital discharge (p=NS). All survivors had a good neurological outcome (Cerebral Performance Category (CPC) 1-2). One intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) occurred. No other significant bleeding complications were observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Empiric fibrinolysis with TNK in cardiac arrest is associated with increased ROSC and short term survival, and with survival to hospital discharge with good neurological function in patients who fail to respond to ACLS. Results may improve with earlier administration. Prospective controlled interventional trials are indicated to evaluate this promising new therapy.

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