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Cardiac massage and blood flow management during cardiac arrest 

Cardiac massage and blood flow management during cardiac arrest
Cardiac massage and blood flow management during cardiac arrest

Gavin D. Perkins

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date: 26 January 2021

When cardiac arrest occurs, blood flow to the vital organs diminishes rapidly. Chest compressions are an essential element of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), yet they achieve, at best, one-third of the normal cardiac output. The speed of initiating CPR, as well as its quality is critical to patient outcomes. Optimal chest characteristics of compressions are defined as pushing hard (depth > 5 cm) and fast (compression rate 100–120/min). Pressure should be released fully between sequential chest compressions and interruptions in chest compressions should be minimized. Even short interruptions in CPR around the time of attempted defibrillation can be harmful. CPR feedback and prompt devices can be used to monitor the quality of CPR. Studies have shown these devices can improve the quality of CPR, but do not improve overall survival. Mechanical chest compression devices may be usefully deployed when it is difficult or unsafe to perform manual CPR, but there is no evidence that the routine deployment of these devices improves outcome. Vasoactive drugs improve coronary perfusion pressure and increase the chances of return of spontaneous circulation. However, there is no definitive evidence that they improve long-term survival. Recent data have raised the possibility that adrenaline may worsen long-term outcomes.

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