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Signa Vitae

A Journal In Intensive Care And Emergency Medicine

Tag: ventricular fibrillation (Page 1 of 2)

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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A seven-year follow-up of discharged patients after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest with respect to ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction


Introduction. The aim of this multicentre prospective study was to describe the seven-year survival of patients, from the region of East Bohemia, after out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), occurring between  2002 and  2004. The main focus of this study was on the survival of patients with ST-segment elevated myocardial infarction (STEMI).
Patients and Methods. A total 718 patients  with OHCA were included in the study. Of these patients, 149 were admitted to hospital. The main cohort of our study consisted of 53 patients (41 men; median 59; average 58±13), who survived acute hospitalization. In these patients, STEMI was the main cause of OHCA in 15 cases (28%), whereas without STEMI was found in 38 cases (72%). Patients who survived hospitalization were periodically followed-up at six-monthly intervals.
Results. In the first follow-up year, 42 patients survived (79% of 53 patients), in the third year 38 patients (72%), in the fifth year 33 patients (62%) and in the seventh year 31 patients (59%). Ninety-four percent of patients were in good neurological condition after the seventh follow-up year. The whole period of seven years was survived by 12 (80%) out of 15 patients with STEMI, and by 19 (50%) out of 38 patients without STEMI. In patients who survived the seventh year after STEMI, direct percutaneous coronary intervention was performed in 11 cases.
Conclusions. Fifty-nine percent of patients discharged from hospital after OHCA   survived until the seventh year. The highest rate of survival during this period was seen in patients with STEMI, i.e. in 80%.


Key words: cardiac arrest, myocardial infarction, out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, sudden cardiac death, survivors, ventricular fibrillation

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Terlipressin/adrenaline is better than adrenaline alone in a porcine model of prolonged ventricular fibrillation A randomized controlled study


Objectives. Vasopressors have been routinely used in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Recent data show that terlipressin may restore blood pressure in asphyxial and prolonged arrests but its potential role in ventricular fibrillation (VF) remains unknown. The aim of this study was to compare coronary (CorPP) and cerebral (CPP) perfusion pressures achieved by terlipressin/adrenaline versus placebo/adrenaline in VF.

Methods. Fourteen domestic pigs were randomly assigned into group A and B. After 5 min of untreated VF, compression-only resuscitation was applied for 10 min, followed by advanced life support. Terlipressin in a single-dose of 30 µg·kg-1 was added to the first dose of adrenaline in group A, while placebo was given in group B. CorPP and CPP were calculated from right atrial, aortic and intracerebral pressures. Data were analyzed using repeated measurements ANOVA and a Fisher´s protected LSD post hoc test.

Results. Terlipressin/adrenaline maintained CorPP above 10 mmHg for 17.7 min longer than adrenaline alone (P=0.003) unable to prevent refractory hypotension. CorPP (mean±SD) measured at 35, 45, and 55 min after the onset of VF was 12 ± 4, 11 ± 6, and 10 ± 5 mmHg in the terlipressin group A; and 6 ± 4, 1 ± 5, and -1 ± 5 mmHg in placebo group B (P=0.03, <0.001, and <0.001). CPP measured at the same times was 23 ± 7, 20 ± 7, and 23 ± 7 mmHg in group A; and 13 ± 7, 6 ± 5, and 6 ± 7 mmHg in group B (P=0.01, <0.001, and <0.001).

Conclusion. The study showed that a single dose of terlipressin, when added to adrenaline, was effective for achievement of higher vital organ perfusion pressures compared to adrenaline alone.

Key words: cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), cardiac arrest, terlipressin, vasopressor therapy, cerebral perfusion pressure, coronary perfusion pressure, ventricular fibrillation

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Ventricular Fibrillation Waveform Analysis during Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation


Ventricular fibrillation (VF) is the primary rhythm associated with cardiac arrest characterized as rapid, disorganized contractions of the heart with complex electrocardiogram (ECG) patterns. Recent studies have reported that performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedure prior to shock increases the survival rate especially especially when VF is untreated for more than 5 minutes. The waveform analysis is objective help in the choice of the right therapy (shock parameters, shock first or CPR first, drug administration). This analysis is a precondition of individually optimized defibrillation and contribute substantially to an increased quality of CPR and reduce delivery of failed rescue shock. Animal and clinical studies confirmed that ventricular fibrillation waveform analysis contains information to reliably predict the countershock success rate and further improved countershock outcome prediction.

Keywords: cardiac arrest, ventricular fibrillation, waveform analysis, prediction defibrillation success, effectiveness of chest compression, uninterrupted cardiopulmonary resuscitation

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Refibrillation during out-of-hospital arrest: A frequent event with clinical consequences


The refibrillation was a frequent event in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA). The number of recurrences of ventricular fibrillation (VF) is in inverse relationship with survival. In this article we discuss about causes and mechanism of refibrillation. The amiodarone and new technical solution (defibrillators that may allow continuous monitoring of the heart rhythm, while chest compressions continue and recommend defibrillation when refibrillation occurs) are promising new strategy to improve outcome of OHCA and recurrent VF.

Keywords: out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, ventricular fibrillation, defibrillation, refibrillation, amiodarone, continuous monitoring of the heart rhythm

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