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Ventilation strategies in cardiac arrest
Long-term survival for adult out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims remains dismal and is typically less than 10%. Historically, many resuscitation guidelines have had little evidence to support their recommendations but research in this field has been burgeoning, with advanced life support guidelines undergoing substantial recent changes to reflect new findings. One of these changes has been to emphasise chest compression continuity at the earliest stages of resuscitation with a much reduced prominence being given to advanced airway interventions such as endotracheal intubation. Consequently, in Arizona, emergency medical teams now provide initial airway management with passive ventilation or standard bag-valve-mask ventilation.
In this retrospective analysis of 1019 patients with out of hospital arrest between 2005 and 2008 who had minimally interrupted chest compressions, 459 individuals were found to have had passive ventilation with 560 having bag-valve-mask ventilation. Overall rates of neurologically intact survival were poor with either strategy with 10% and 9.5% respectively surviving to discharge, with no difference between groups. This falls to a particularly sobering 1.3% and 3.7% when a non-shockable rhythm was found, again with no statistically significant difference between groups. However in the best case scenario, where a witnessed arrest was found to have VF or VT there did appear to be a …