Advances in the Clinical Management of Cardiac Arrest
Keywords:Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Heart Arrest, Epinephrine, Vasopressin, Adrenal Cortex Hormones, Hypothermia, Adrenergic beta-1 Receptor Antagonists, Heart Failure, Shock, Septic, Multiple Organ Failure.
Cardiac arrest constitutes an extremely life-threatening condition that inevitably and promptly results in death if left untreated. Cardiac arrest outcomes still remain very poor, especially when the presenting cardiac rhythm is nonshockable. Important, recent, clinical research has focused on the quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the mechanical augmentation of the circulation during CPR, CPR drugs, and therapeutic hypothermia. Chest compression depth of at least 51 mm increases the probability of neurologically favorable survival. Despite initially promising results, a large effectiveness study failed to confirm the efficacy of the mechanical augmentation of the circulation. Epinephrine has finally been shown to slightly improve functional outcome after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, especially when given early. In a recent, in-hospital study of 268 patients, the addition of vasopressin and methylprednisolone during CPR and the administration of hydrocortisone in postresuscitation shock improved functional outcome after vasopressor-requiring cardiac arrest; however, corticosteroid efficacy still needs to be separately confirmed in a large, international trial. Lastly, preliminary human data may support the conduct of high quality trials evaluating the efficacy of beta adrenergic antagonists in shockable cardiac arrest. The purpose of this paper is to review these potentially important advances in the management of cardiac arrest.
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