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Efficacy of chest compressions directed by end-tidal CO2 feedback in a pediatric resuscitation model of basic life support.

BACKGROUND: End-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) correlates with systemic blood flow and resuscitation rate during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and may potentially direct chest compression performance. We compared ETCO2-directed chest compressions with chest compressions optimized to pediatric basic life support guidelines in an infant swine model to determine the effect on rate of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).

METHODS AND RESULTS: Forty 2-kg piglets underwent general anesthesia, tracheostomy, placement of vascular catheters, ventricular fibrillation, and 90 seconds of no-flow before receiving 10 or 12 minutes of pediatric basic life support. In the optimized group, chest compressions were optimized by marker, video, and verbal feedback to obtain American Heart Association-recommended depth and rate. In the ETCO2-directed group, compression depth, rate, and hand position were modified to obtain a maximal ETCO2 without video or verbal feedback. After the interval of pediatric basic life support, external defibrillation and intravenous epinephrine were administered for another 10 minutes of CPR or until ROSC. Mean ETCO2 at 10 minutes of CPR was 22.7±7.8 mm Hg in the optimized group (n=20) and 28.5±7.0 mm Hg in the ETCO2-directed group (n=20; P=0.02). Despite higher ETCO2 and mean arterial pressure in the latter group, ROSC rates were similar: 13 of 20 (65%; optimized) and 14 of 20 (70%; ETCO2 directed). The best predictor of ROSC was systemic perfusion pressure. Defibrillation attempts, epinephrine doses required, and CPR-related injuries were similar between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of ETCO2-directed chest compressions is a novel guided approach to resuscitation that can be as effective as standard CPR optimized with marker, video, and verbal feedback.

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