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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2011 June;59(3):239-53


language: English

Update in cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Bradley S. M.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA


Despite the passage of 50 years since the introduction of closed chest compression and mouth-to-mouth rescue breathing as the techniques of modern cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the simple techniques remain the backbone of successful resuscitation of victims of cardiac arrest. In particular, the importance of high quality chest compressions is increasingly clear. Current evidence demonstrates chest compressions should be provided at a rate of 100 compressions a minute to a depth of 4 to 5 cm (1.5 to 2 inches) with full chest recoil between compressions. Additionally, all efforts should be made to minimize interruptions in chest compressions, including single shock defibrillation and elimination of pulse check postdefibrillation in favor of continued chest compressions immediately postshock. The emphasis on high quality chest compressions is echoed in the most recent CPR guidelines of the American Heart Association and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation. The role of rescue breathing is currently debated; however, it is likely important in prolonged arrests or those of non-cardiac etiology. Current recommendations encourage inclusion of rescue breaths by trained responders, but allow for elimination of rescue breathing and emphasis on chest compressions for responders untrained or unconfident in rescue breathing. Early defibrillation is a key component to successful resuscitation of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation arrest; however, implementation of defibrillation should be coordinated with CPR to minimize interruptions in chest compressions. Aside from early defibrillation, there are no clear adjuncts to CPR that improve survival. However, postresuscitation therapies such as therapeutic hypothermia may become an important part of early resuscitation management as tools to provide hypothermia become increasingly portable and capable of rapid cooling.

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