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Signa Vitae

Journal of Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine

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Continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation training compared to single training by laypersons


Background. Compression-Only Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (COCPR) has been broadly studied during the last few years and specially introduced into lay rescuers’ training. The aim of the study was to compare the quality of COCPR performed by laypersons (Group A) who attended a single cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training course, and those (Group B) who underwent regular CPR training every 6 months.

Methods. Both groups completed the “Heartsaver CPR AED” course of the American Heart Association. After 30 minutes they were required to perform COCPR on a manikin with a skills reporter system.

Results. Comparing the 76 once only trained laypersons to the 74 continuously trained lay rescuers, we found that average age (20 versus 40 years old), male gender (54% versus 93%), body mass index (BMI) (24.9 versus 27.3 kg/m2) and regular physical exercise (55% versus 36%) proved significant predictors, p<0.01, p<0.01, p<0.01 and p=0.04 respectively. Regarding COCPR-quality, the percentage of efficient chest compressions (43% versus 58%), average depth of compression (45 versus 50 mm) and percentage of error-free compressions (36% versus 50%) indicated a significant statistical difference, with p=0.01, p=0.01 and p<0.01 respectively. However, the average frequency of compressions per minute (121 versus 124), the percentage of correct hand positioning during chest compressions (87% versus 90%) and the average duty cycle (47% versus 45%) did not display a significant difference.

Conclusion. The continuous CPR training group obtained better results regarding quality of chest compressions when compared with single CPR training.

Key words: cardiac massage, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, emergency medicine, resuscitation

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The influence of different airway management strategies on chest compression fraction in simulated cardiopulmonary resuscitation, provided by paramedics: LMA Supreme versus Endotracheal Intubation and Combitube


Introduction. It is strongly advised by the European Resuscitation Council not to interrupt chest compressions for airway management. An alternative to tracheal intubation is the use of a supraglottic airway device (SAD) which should shorten “hands-off” time during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Chest compression fraction (CCF) should be above 0.6 to ensure the probability of successful CPR. We compared the performance of airway management during CPR provided by

paramedics using the laryngeal mask (LMA) Supreme, Combitube and endotracheal intubation (ET) in a manikin model.

Materials and Methods. Thirty sophomore students of emergency medicine school for paramedics took part in the study. The primary endpoint was to assess the influence of the type of airway management on CCF. The time to successful airway management (TA) was measured and the minute ventilation was assessed using the respirator Medumat Easy and program AMBU® CPR SOFTWARE during uninterrupted CPR. CCF was measured using CPRmeter – QCPR (Laerdal).

Results. Mean CCF was significantly better for LMA Supreme (0.8 vs 0.71 vs 0.65), mean TA was significantly shorter for LMA supreme: 16.5 sec vs 24.37 sec vs 28,3 sec, the success rate in the first attempt was 100% vs 66.6% vs 100%, mean air leak during chest compressions was 14% vs 8% vs 15% for LMA Supreme, ET and Combitube respectively.

Conclusion. The LMA Supreme is an effective tool for airway management during chest compression and provides adequate ventilation.

Key words: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, airway management, endotracheal intubation, supraglottic devices

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Dose pre-hospital laryngeal mask airway use has a survival benefit in non-shockable cardiac arrest?


Background. Whether pre-hospital laryngeal mask airway (LMA) use poses a survival benefit and should be approved as routine airway management in non-shockable cardiac arrest is of major concern. The present study examined the effectiveness of LMA, in comparison to other pre-hospital airway management on individuals who have experienced non-shockable cardiac arrest.

Methods. Adult patients who experienced non-shockable cardiac arrest with activation of the emergency medical service (EMS) made up our study cohort in Taoyuan, Taiwan. The data were abstracted from EMS records and cardiac arrest registration protocols.

Results. Among the 1912 enrolled patients, most received LMA insertion (72.4%), 108 (5.6%) bag-valve-mask (BVM) ventilation, 376 (19.7%) high-flow oxygen non-rebreather facemask, and only 44 (2.3%) received endotracheal tube intubation (ETI). With regard to survival to discharge, no significant differences in prevalence were evident among the groups: 2.8% of oxygen facial mask, 1.1% of BVM, 2.1% of LMA, and 4.5% of the ETI group survived to discharge (p = 0.314). In comparison to oxygen facial mask use, different types of airway management remained unassociated with survival to discharge after adjusting for variables by logistic regression analysis (BVM: 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.079 – 1.639 [p = 0.186]; LMA: 95% CI, 0.220–2.487 [p = 0.627]; ETI: 95% CI, 0.325–17.820 [p = 0.390]). The results of Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test of logistic regression model revealed good calibration.

Conclusions. Pre-hospital LMA use was not associated with additional survival to discharge compared with facial oxygen mask, BVM, or ETI following non-shockable cardiac arrest.

Key words: emergency medical service, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, laryngeal mask airway, ventilation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation

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Recognition of ventricular fibrillation concomitant with pacing artifacts


Introduction. In pre-hospital settings recognition of underlying rhythm in patients with ventricular stimulation can be difficult especially when a 3-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) is analyzed. This fact is particularly important in patients with life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmias. The pacing spikes in the ECG of a patient with cardiac arrest due to ventricular fibrillation may be misdiagnosed as QRS complexes.
Aim of the study. The aim of this study was to assess emergency medical care students’ accuracy in recognizing ventricular fibrillation when pacing spikes are present.
Material and methods. The study group consisted of 39 emergency medical care students, 16 males and 23 females, aged 21 – 23. Subjects were at the midpoint of their 3-year university healthcare professional education. Subjects were asked to interpret electrocardiograms presenting ventricular fibrillation with concomitant pacing artifacts, ventricular fibrillation and atrial fibrillation with ventricular pacing, respectively. Students were trained in recognition of ECG tracings presenting ventricular stimulation, atrial fibrillation and ventricular fibrillation. They were instructed that the duration of the QRS complex in adults is at least 0.06s and that pacemaker stimuli are shorter. Prior to the examination, an electrocardiogram similar to the abovementioned, with ventricular fibrillation and pacemaker stimuli, was not presented.
Results. Only one student (out of 39) recognized ventricular fibrillation with pacemaker stimuli present; the majority of students (92%) incorrectly interpreted the rhythm as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. The ECG with isolated ventricular fibrillation was correctly interpreted by all but two students who recognized polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and 62% of students correctly recognized ventricular pacing whereas none of them recognized atrial fibrillation.
Conclusions. 1. The skills of recognizing ventricular fibrillation in patients with concomitant ventricular pacing are poor among emergency medical care students.
2. The ECG tracing showing concomitant ventricular fibrillation and pacing stimuli should be included in teaching programs for emergency medical care students. An ongoing quality improvement program may reduce the rate of mistakes in ECG analysis in rare cases with life-threatening emergencies.

Key words: ventricular fibrillation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, training, cardiac pacing

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Rapid-response extracorporeal membrane oxygenation to support failed conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation (E-CPR) in children – case reports and literature review


The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) to support failed conventional cardiopulmonary resuscitation e.g. ECMO cardiopulmonary resuscitation (E-CPR) in children has been increasing. We report on the first three patients in whom E-CPR was used at our institution, a low volume surgical centre. Patient’s diagnoses were: influenza B myocarditis, truncus arteriosus two days after complete surgical repair and cardiogenic shock during adenovirus infection with a discovered recoarctation of the aorta. The use of E-CPR rescued 1 patient (33%) out of three. Apart from high volume surgical centres, E-CPR can also be implemented in low volume centres with a trained in-house ECMO team, in selected cases.

Key words: cardiopulmonary resuscitation, child, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, refractory cardiac arrest

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