Approach to cardiopulmonary resuscitation induced consciousness, an emergency medicine perspective

A Pourmand, B Hill, D Yamane, E Kuhl
American Journal of Emergency Medicine 2019, 37 (4): 751-756

BACKGROUND: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) remains the key intervention following cardiac arrest because of its ability to continue circulation. Recent focus on high quality compressions during CPR has coincided with more frequent encounters of CPR Induced Consciousness (CPRIC). CPRIC represents a poorly understood patient experience during CPR and defined as signs of consciousness and pain perception during CPR.

METHODS: Articles were selected using PubMed, MEDLINE, CINAHL and Scopus search for the keywords "cardiopulmonary resuscitation", "consciousness", "awareness", "resuscitation", "cardio-cerebral resuscitation", "agitation" and "patient experience" yielding 336 articles. Results and their references were assessed for relevance. Articles were filtered by English language and the keyword. Case reports and case series were included. All remaining articles were reviewed and findings were discussed.

RESULTS: A total of ten articles were selected, which included data on 123 cases. Sample size varied per study from 1 to 112. Studies included cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and in hospital cardiac arrest. Compressions were manually provided in most cases. Patient total recall was reported in 40% of cases. Use of sedation was reported in 40% of cases.

CONCLUSIONS: There is need for continued research to better describe, explain and manage the phenomena of CPRIC. From the articles reviewed here, it is clear that further investigation has the potential to properly elucidate the patient experience including lasting psychological effects of CPRIC. Importantly, there is need for more than recognition of CPRIC from national authorities. Future research efforts should focus on establishing guidelines for the use of sedation and physical restraints, as well as the potential impact of treating CPRIC on survival.

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