Podcast 537:  Thoughts on Cardiac Arrest - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 537:  Thoughts on Cardiac Arrest

Contributor:  Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • High-quality compressions are an essential, and probably one of the most important, part of cardiac arrest 
  • Actual evidence for drugs in cardiac arrest included in ACLS are limited, including epinephrine, bicarbonate, amiodarone, etc.
  • Early defibrillation for ventricular tachycardia (VT) or ventricular fibrillation (VF) has a plethora of supporting evidence
  • Double-sequential defibrillation (nearly simultaneous defibrillation using 2 machines) may be considered for refractory dysrhythmias like VF
  • tPA during a cardiac arrest can be considered in the setting of massive PE (although the evidence supporting this practice is poor)
  • Ending a cardiac arrest resuscitation is a difficult decision and use of ultrasound may be helpful to assess for meaningful cardiac function/activity


Link MS, Berkow LC, Kudenchuk PJ, Halperin HR, Hess EP, Moitra VK, Neumar RW, O’Neil BJ, Paxton JH, Silvers SM, White RD, Yannopoulos D, Donnino MW . Part 7: Adult Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support: 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation. 2015 Nov;132(18 Suppl 2):S444-64. 

Wang Y, Wang M, Ni Y, Liang B, Liang Z. Can Systemic Thrombolysis Improve Prognosis of Cardiac Arrest Patients During Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.J Emerg Med. 2019;57(4):478. Epub 2019 Oct 5. 

Eric Cortez, William Krebs, James Davis, David P. Keseg, Ashish R. Panchal. Use of double sequential external defibrillation for refractory ventricular fibrillation during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Resuscitation. Volume 108. 2016. Pages 82-86,

Atkinson PR, Beckett N, French J, Banerjee A, Fraser J, Lewis D. Does Point-of-care Ultrasound Use Impact Resuscitation Length, Rates of Intervention, and Clinical Outcomes During Cardiac Arrest? A Study from the Sonography in Hypotension and Cardiac Arrest in the Emergency Department (SHoC-ED) Investigators. Cureus. 2019;11(4):e4456. Published 2019 Apr 13. doi:10.7759/cureus.4456

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Stay up to date by
joining our mailing list!