Tag Archives: ATLS

London Trauma Conference 2014 Part 1

I’ve travelled almost the entire length of England to get to the London Trauma Conference this year. What could be more important than attending one of the best conferences of the year? Examining for the DipRTM at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh

So was it worth the 4am start? Absolutely!

tomMy highlights would be Tom Evens explaining why trauma can be regarded like an elite sport. His background is as a sports coach in addition to his medical accomplishments and walking us through the journey he went through with the athlete he was coaching demonstrates the changes that need to occur when cultivating a performance culture and the results speak for themselves.

I can see similarities in the techniques used by athletes and those we are using in medicine now. Developing a highly performing team isn’t easy as anyone involved in the training of these teams will know.



jerry3Dr Jerry Nolan answered some questions about cervical spine movement in airway management. The most movement is seen in the upper cervical spine and there is no surprise that there is an increased incidence of cervical spine injury in unconscious patients (10%). The bottom line is that no movement clinicians will make of the cervical spine is greater than that at the time of injury. And whether it be basic airway manoeuvres, laryngoscopy or cricoid pressure the degree of movement is in the same ball park and unlikely to cause further injury. He states that he would use MILS like cricoid pressure and have a low threshold for releasing it if there are difficulties with the intubation. Of course many of us don’t use cricoid pressure in RSI anymore………..


After watching Tom and Jerry we heard that ATLS has had its day. Dr Matthew Wiles implores us to reserve ATLS for the inexperienced and move away from this outdated system and move to training in teams using local policies. The Cochrane reviewers found an increase in knowledge but no change in outcomes.

And finally Dr Deasy has convinced me that I will be replaced by a robot roaming around providing remote enhanced care. On the up side I might be the clinician providing that support.

More from me on this fantastic conference soon. In the meantime follow it on Twitter!



Traumatic cardiac arrest outcomes

simEver heard anyone spout dogma along the lines of: “it’s a traumatic cardiac arrest – resuscitation is futile as the outcome is hopeless: survival is close to zero per cent”?

I have. Less frequently in recent years, I’ll admit, but you still hear it spout forth from the anus of some muppet in the trauma team. Here’s some recent data to add to the existing literature that challenges the ‘zero per cent survival’ proponents. A Spanish study retrospectively analysed 167 traumatic cardiac arrests (TCAs). 6.6% achieved a complete neurological recovery (CNR), which increased to 9.4% if the first ambulance to arrive contained an advanced team including a physician. Rhythm and age were important: CNR was achieved in 36.4% of VFs, 7% of PEAs, and 2.7% of those in asystole; survival rate by age groups was 23.1% in children, 5.7% in adults, and 3.7% in the elderly.

Since traumatic arrest tends to affect a younger age group than medical arrests, the authors suggest:

Avoiding the potential decrease in life expectancy in this kind of patient justifies using medical resources to their utmost potential to achieve their survival

Since 2.7% of the asystolic patients achieved a CNR, the authors challenge the practice proposed by some authors that Advanced Life Support be withheld in TCA patients with asystole as the initial rhythm:

had that indication been followed, three of our patients who survived neurologically intact would have been declared dead on-scene.”

I’d like to know what interventions were making the difference in these patients. They describe what’s on offer as:

In our EMS, all TCA patients receive ALS on-scene, which includes intubation, intravenous access, fluid and drug therapy, point-of-care blood analysis, and procedures such as chest drain insertion, pericardiocentesis, or Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma ultrasonography to improve the treatment of the cause of the TCA.

It appears that crystalloids and colloids are their fluid therapy of choice; unlike many British and Australian physician-based prehospital services they made no mention of the administration of prehospital blood products.

Traumatic cardiac arrest: Should advanced life support be initiated?
J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2013 Feb;74(2):634-8

BACKGROUND: Several studies recommend not initiating advanced life support in traumatic cardiac arrest (TCA), mainly owing to the poor prognosis in several series that have been published. This study aimed to analyze the survival of the TCA in our series and to determine which factors are more frequently associated with recovery of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) and complete neurologic recovery (CNR).

METHODS: This is a cohort study (2006-2009) of treatment benefits.

RESULTS: A total of 167 TCAs were analyzed. ROSC was obtained in 49.1%, and 6.6% achieved a CNR. Survival rate by age groups was 23.1% in children, 5.7% in adults, and 3.7% in the elderly (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in ROSC according to which type of ambulance arrived first, but if the advanced ambulance first, 9.41% achieved a CNR, whereas only 3.7% if the basic ambulance first. We found significant differences between the response time and survival with a CNR (response time was 6.9 minutes for those who achieved a CNR and 9.2 minutes for those who died). Of the patients, 67.5% were in asystole, 25.9% in pulseless electrical activity (PEA), and 6.6% in VF. ROSC was achieved in 90.9% of VFs, 60.5% of PEAs, and 40.2% of those in asystole (p < 0.05), and CNR was achieved in 36.4% of VFs, 7% of PEAs, and 2.7% of those in asystole (p < 0.05). The mean (SD) quantity of fluid replacement was greater in ROSC (1,188.8 [786.7] mL of crystalloids and 487.7 [688.9] mL of colloids) than in those without ROSC (890.4 [622.4] mL of crystalloids and 184.2 [359.3] mL of colloids) (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: In our series, 6.6% of the patients survived with a CNR. Our data allow us to state beyond any doubt that advanced life support should be initiated in TCA patients regardless of the initial rhythm, especially in children and those with VF or PEA as the initial rhythm and that a rapid response time and aggressive fluid replacement are the keys to the survival of these patients.

Is it time to abandon plain radiography in the trauma room?

For patients who will be having a chest CT, perhaps sonography could replace chest radiography in the resus room as the initial imaging step; this recent prospective study shows its superiority over the ‘traditional’ ATLS approach.

In haemodynamically stable patients with prophylactic pelvic splints in place, one could easily argue against plain pelvis films too (the caveat being rapid access to CT is necessary). The arguments against resus-room lateral cervical spine x-rays were made ages ago and these are now rarely done in the UK & Australia.

Is it time to abandon plain radiography altogether for stable major trauma patients?

Background: The accuracy of combined clinical examination (CE) and chest radiography (CXR) (CE + CXR) vs thoracic ultrasonography in the acute assessment of pneumothorax, hemothorax, and lung contusion in chest trauma patients is unknown.

Methods: We conducted a prospective, observational cohort study involving 119 adult patients admitted to the ED with thoracic trauma. Each patient, secured onto a vacuum mattress, underwent a subsequent thoracic CT scan after first receiving CE, CXR, and thoracic ultrasonography. The diagnostic performance of each method was also evaluated in a subgroup of 35 patients with hemodynamic and/or respiratory instability.

Results: Of the 237 lung fields included in the study, we observed 53 pneumothoraces, 35 hemothoraces, and 147 lung contusions, according to either thoracic CT scan or thoracic decompression if placed before the CT scan. The diagnostic performance of ultrasonography was higher than that of CE + CXR, as shown by their respective areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves (AUC-ROC): mean 0.75 (95% CI, 0.67-0.83) vs 0.62 (0.54-0.70) in pneumothorax cases and 0.73 (0.67-0.80) vs 0.66 (0.61-0.72) for lung contusions, respectively (all P < .05). In addition, the diagnostic performance of ultrasonography to detect pneumothorax was enhanced in the most severely injured patients: 0.86 (0.73-0.98) vs 0.70 (0.61-0.80) with CE + CXR. No difference between modalities was found for hemothorax.

Conclusions: Thoracic ultrasonography as a bedside diagnostic modality is a better diagnostic test than CE and CXR in comparison with CT scanning when evaluating supine chest trauma patients in the emergency setting, particularly for diagnosing pneumothoraces and lung contusions.

Diagnostic accuracy of ultrasonography in the acute assessment of common thoracic lesions after trauma
Chest. 2012 May;141(5):1177-83

The Bleeding Trauma Patient

The Bleeding Trauma Patient
by Dr Pete Sherren

By popular request, Here are the slides from a presentation given by HEMS critical care physician Dr Pete Sherren.

These notes accompany the slides:

Hypothermia, acidaemia and coagulopathy or the ‘lethal triad’, is a well described entity in the trauma population and is associated with significant mortality [1]. Traditionally the aetiology of a trauma induced coagulopathy was thought to be multifactorial and involve hypothermia, acidaemia, dilutional coagulopathy, pre-existing bleeding diathesis and disseminated intravascular coagulation (Figure 1).

Figure 1. A diagram showing some of the mechanisms leading to coagulopathy in the injured.

In 2003 Brohi et al showed that around 25% of severely injured trauma patients present to hospital with a significant coagulopathy which was unrelated to fluid administration [2]. This early coagulopathy has become known as the Acute Traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) or Acute Coagulopathy of Trauma Shock (ACoTS). It is associated with an increase in transfusion requirements, injury severity scores, organ dysfunction and mortality rates [2-5].

ATC is an impairment of haemostasis involving a dynamic interaction between endogenous anticoagulants and fibrinolysis that is initiated immediately after an injury [5]. ATC is driven by an endothelial injury and hypoperfusion, which results in in increased thrombomodulin expression and activation of protein C (Figure 3). The inhibitory effect of activated protein C on clotting factors V/VIII and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), would appear key in the development of ATC [5,6].

Figure 2. Expression of thrombomodulin following a traumatic injury results in increased activation of protein C with resulting impairment of clotting factors V/VIII and reduction in thrombin generation. Activated Protein C also has an inhibitory effect on PAI-1 which results in unregulated tPA activity and fibrinolysis.

Damage control resuscitation (DCR) describes a package of care for the haemorrhaging trauma patient. It involves early damage control surgery, haemostatic resuscitation and permissive hypotension. DCR aims to control haemorrhage early while aggressively targeting the ATC and lethal triad. DCR has emerged as the accepted standard of care and some observational studies have suggested a survival benefit [6].

  • Damage Control Surgery – The priority for any haemorrhaging trauma patient is good haemostasis. Unstable patients with major trauma do not tolerate prolonged definitive surgery and hence the emergence of damage control surgery. The aim of damage control surgery is to normalise physiology at the expense of anatomy.
  • Haemostatic resuscitation – Describes the aggressive early use of packed red blood cells, clotting products and coagulation adjuncts in an attempt to mitigate the effects of the ATC and lethal triad in major trauma patients. The exact PRBC:FFP ratio remains unclear, but should ideally be less than 2:1 [7]. In massive transfusions along with appropriate FFP, platelet and fibrinogen supplementation, consideration should be given to early adjunctive therapies such as tranexamic acid [8] while maintaining ionised calcium levels greater than 1.0 mmol/L [9].
  • Permissive hypotension – Involves titrated volume resuscitation, which targets a subnormal end point that maintains organ viability until haemorrhage is controlled. By avoiding overzealous fluid resuscitation which targets normotension, the hope is to preserve the first and often best clot. Although permissive hypotension is frequently employed in traumatic haemorrhage, there is really only robust evidence that it is advantageous in penetrating trauma [10]. In blunt trauma there is a relative paucity of good evidence to guide practice, while strong evidence exists for maintaining cerebral perfusion pressures when there are associated head injuries. The end points for resuscitation will depend on age, premorbid autoregulatory state and acute pathology.

DCR is an ever evolving concept and potential emerging management strategies include –

  • Thromboelastometry (TEG/ROTEM) to guide haemostatic resuscitation instead of ratio based transfusions.
  • Prothrombin complex concentrate (FII, VII, IX and X) in non-warfarin patients
  • Fibrinogen complex concentrate (fibrinogen and FXIII) over cryoprecipitate.
  • Alkalising agents such as Tris-hydroxymethyl aminomethane (THAM) in massive transfusion with severe acidaemia
  • Novel hybrid resuscitation strategies.
  • High flow/low pressure resuscitation – endothelial resuscitation and microvascular washout.
  • Suspended Animation
  • Platelet function analysis in trauma with platelet mapping and aggregometry vs traditional PF-100

Learning points

  • Early coagulation dysfunction is common in trauma patients with haemorrhagic shock.
  • Tailored management of the ‘lethal triad’ and ATC is essential.
  • DCR is an emerging standard of care; however, some of its components are pushing the boundaries of what is good evidence based medicine.

1. Moore EE. Staged laparotomy for the hypothermia, acidosis, and coagulopathy. Am J Surg 1996;172:405-410.

2. Brohi K, Singh J, Heron M, Coats T. Acute Traumatic coagulopathy. J Trauma. 2003;54:1127-1130.

3. Davenport R, Manson J, De’Arth H, Platton S, Coates A, Allard S, Hart D, Pearse RM, Pasi J, MacCullum P, Stanworth S, Brohi K. Functional definition and characterization of acute traumatic coagulopathy. Crit Care Med. 2011;39(12):2652-2658.

4. Maegele M, Lefering R, Yucei N, Tjardes T, Rixen D,Paffrath T, Simanski C, Neugebauer E, Bouillon B; AG Polytrauma of the German Trauma Society (DGU). Early coagulopathy in multiple injury: an analysis from the German Trauma Registry on 8724 patients. Injury. 2007 Mar;38(3):298-304.

5. Firth D, Davenport R, Brohi K. Acute traumatic coagulopathy. Curr Opin Anaesthesiol. 2012 Apr;25(2):229-34.

6. Cotton BA, Reddy N, Hatch QM, LeFebvre E, Wade CE, Kozar RA, Gill BS, Albarado R, McNutt MK, Holcomb JB. Damage control resuscitation is associated with a reduction in resuscitation volumes and improvement in survival in 390 damage control laparotomy patients. Ann Surg. 2011 Oct;254(4):598-605.

7. Davenport R, Curry N, Manson J, De’Ath H, Coates A, Rourke C, Pearse R, Stanworth S, Brohi K. Hemostatic effects of fresh frozen plasma may be maximal at red cell ratios of 1:2. J Trauma. 2011 Jan;70(1):90-5; discussion 95-6.

8. CRASH-2 collaborators, Roberts I, Shakur H, Afolabi A, Brohi K, Coats T, Dewan Y, Gando S, Guyatt G, Hunt BJ, Morales C, Perel P, Prieto-Merino D, Woolley T. The importance of early treatment with tranexamic acid in bleeding trauma patients: an exploratory analysis of the CRASH-2 randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2011 Mar 26;377(9771):1096-101, 1101.e1-2.

9. Dawes R, Thomas GO. Battlefield resuscitation. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2009 Dec;15(6):527-35

10. Bickell WH, Wall MJ Jr, Pepe PE, Martin RR, Ginger VF, Allen MK, Mattox KL. Immediate versus delayed fluid resuscitation for hypotensive patients with penetrating torso injuries. N Engl J Med. 1994 Oct 27;331(17):1105-9.

11. Schöchl H, Maegele M, Solomon C, Görlinger K, Voelckel W. Early and individualized goal-directed therapy for trauma-induced coagulopathy. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2012 Feb 24;20:15.

Leadership & experience count in trauma resuscitation

These findings shouldn’t be a surprise – and the authors acknowledge a number of methodological weaknesses in what is essentially a pilot study – but the conclusions are worth reminding people about.

INTRODUCTION: Leadership plays a key role in trauma team management and might affect the efficiency of patient care. Our hypothesis was that a positive relationship exists between the trauma team members’ perception of leadership and the efficiency of the injured patient’s initial evaluation.

METHODS: We conducted a prospective observational study evaluating trauma attending leadership (TAL) over 5 months at a level 1 trauma center. After the completion of patient care, trauma team members evaluated the TAL’s ability using a modified Campbell Leadership Descriptor Survey tool. Scores ranged from 18 (ineffective leader) to 72 (perfect score). Clinical efficiency was measured prospectively by recording the time needed to complete an advanced trauma life support (ATLS)-directed resuscitation. Assessment times across Leadership score groups were compared using Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney tests (p < 0.05, statistically significant).

RESULTS: Seven attending physicians were included with a postfellowship experience ranging from ≤1 to 11 years. The average leadership score was 59.8 (range, 27-72). Leadership scores were divided into 3 groups post facto: low (18-45), medium (46-67), and high (68-72). The teams directed by surgeons with low scores took significantly longer than teams directed by surgeons with high scores to complete the secondary survey (14 ± 4 minutes in contrast to 11 ± 2 minutes, p < 0.009) and to transport the patient for CT evaluation (19 ± 5 minutes in contrast to 14 ± 4 minutes; p < 0.001). Attending surgeon experience also affected clinical efficiency with teams directed by less experienced surgeons taking significantly longer to complete the primary survey (p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: The trauma team’s perception of leadership is associated positively with clinical efficiency. As such, more formal leadership training could potentially improve patient care and should be included in surgical education.

Trauma leadership: does perception drive reality?
J Surg Educ. 2012 Mar-Apr;69(2):236-40

Out-of hospital traumatic paediatric cardiac arrest

This small study on traumatic arrests in children1 refutes the “100% mortality from traumatic arrest” dogma that people still spout and gives information on the mechanisms associated with survival: drowning and strangulation were associated with greater rates of survival to hospital admission compared with blunt, penetrating, and other traumas. Overall, drowning had the greatest rate of survival to discharge (19.1%).

I would like to know the injuries sustained in non-survivors, to determine whether they were potentially treatable. Strikingly, in the list of prehospital procedures performed, there were NO attempts at pleural decompression, something that is standard in traumatic arrest protocols in prehospital services were I have worked.

It is interesting to compare these results with those of the London HEMS team2, who for traumatic paediatric arrest achieved 19/80 (23.8%) survival to discharged from the emergency department and 7/80 (8.75%) survival to hospital discharge. They also noted a large proportion of the survivors suffered hypoxic or asphyxial injuries, whereas those patients with hypovolaemic cardiac arrest did not survive.

OBJECTIVE:To determine the epidemiology and survival of pediatric out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) secondary to trauma.

METHODS:The CanAm Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Study Group is a collaboration of researchers in the United States and Canada sharing a common goal to improve survival outcomes for pediatric cardiac arrest. This was a prospective, multicenter, observational study. Twelve months of consecutive data were collected from emergency medical services (EMS), fire, and inpatient records from 2000 to 2003 for all OHCAs secondary to trauma in patients aged ≤18 years in 36 urban and suburban communities supporting advanced life support (ALS) programs. Eligible patients were apneic and pulseless and received chest compressions in the field. The primary outcome was survival to discharge. Secondary measures included return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), survival to hospital admission, and 24-hour survival.

RESULTS:The study included 123 patients. The median patient age was 7.3 years (interquartile range [IQR] 6.0-17.0). The patient population was 78.1% male and 59.0% African American, 20.5% Hispanic, and 15.7% white. Most cardiac arrests occurred in residential (47.1%) or street/highway (37.2%) locations. Initial recorded rhythms were asystole (59.3%), pulseless electrical activity (29.1%), and ventricular fibrillation/tachycardia (3.5%). The majority of cardiac arrests were unwitnessed (49.5%), and less than 20% of patients received chest compressions by bystanders. The median (IQR) call-to-arrival interval was 4.9 (3.1-6.5) minutes and the on-scene interval was 12.3 (8.4-18.3) minutes. Blunt and penetrating traumas were the most common mechanisms (34.2% and 25.2%, respectively) and were associated with poor survival to discharge (2.4% and 6.5%, respectively). For all OHCA patients, 19.5% experienced ROSC in the field, 9.8% survived the first 24 hours, and 5.7% survived to discharge. Survivors had triple the rate of bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) than nonsurvivors (42.9% vs. 15.2%). Unlike patients sustaining blunt trauma or strangulation/hanging, most post-cardiac arrest patients who survived the first 24 hours after penetrating trauma or drowning were discharged alive. Drowning (17.1% of cardiac arrests) had the highest survival-to-discharge rate (19.1%).

CONCLUSIONS:The overall survival rate for OHCA in children after trauma was low, but some trauma mechanisms are associated with better survival rates than others. Most OHCA in children is preventable, and education and prevention strategies should focus on those overrepresented populations and high-risk mechanisms to improve mortality.

1. Epidemiology of out-of hospital pediatric cardiac arrest due to trauma
Prehosp Emerg Care, 2012 vol. 16 (2) pp. 230-236

2. Outcome from paediatric cardiac arrest associated with trauma
Resuscitation. 2007 Oct;75(1):29-34

Pre-hospital thoracotomy

The London Helicopter Emergency Medical Service provides a physician / paramedic team to victims of trauma. One of the interventions performed by their physicians is pre-hospital resuscitative thoracotomy to patients with cardiac arrest due to penetrating thoracic trauma. They have published the outcomes from this procedure over a 15 year period which show an 18% survival to discharge rate, with a high rate of neurologically intact survivors1.

The article was submitted for publication on February 1, 2010, and in the discussion mentions a further two survivors from the procedure performed after conducting the study. It is likely therefore in the year and a half since submission still more patients have been saved. It will be interesting to read future reports from this team as the numbers accumulate; penetrating trauma missions are sadly increasing in frequency.

Having worked for these guys and performed this procedure in the field a few times myself, I can attest to the training and governance surrounding this system. The technique of clamshell thoracotomy is well described 2 and one I would recommend for the non-surgeon.

BACKGROUND: Prehospital cardiac arrest associated with trauma almost always results in death. A case of survival after prehospital thoracotomy was published in 1994 and several others have followed. This article describes the result of prehospital thoracotomy in a physician-led system for patients with stab wounds to the chest who suffered cardiac arrest on scene.

METHODS: A 15-year retrospective prehospital trauma database review identified victims of stab wounds to the chest who suffered cardiac arrest on scene and had thoracotomy performed according to local standard operating procedures.

RESULTS: Overall, 71 patients met inclusion criteria. Thirteen patients (18%) survived to hospital discharge. Neurologic outcome was good in 11 patients and poor in 2. Presenting cardiac rhythm was asystole in four patients, pulseless electrical activity in five, and unrecorded in the remaining four. All survivors had cardiac tamponade. The medical team was present at the time of cardiac arrest for six survivors (good neurologic outcome): arrived in the first 5 minutes after arrest in three patients (all good neurologic outcome), arrived 5 minutes to 10 minutes after arrest in two patients (one poor neurologic outcome), and in one patient (poor neurologic outcome) the period was unknown. Of the survivors, seven thoracotomies were performed by emergency physicians and six by anesthesiologists.

CONCLUSIONS: Prehospital thoracotomy is a well-established procedure in this physician-led prehospital service. Results from this and other similar systems suggest that when performed for the subgroup of patients described, significant numbers of survivors with good neurologic outcome can be expected.

1. Thirteen Survivors of Prehospital Thoracotomy for Penetrating Trauma: A Prehospital Physician-Performed Resuscitation Procedure That Can Yield Good Results
J Trauma. 2011 May;70(5):E75-8

2. Emergency thoracotomy: “how to do it”
Emerg Med J. 2005 January; 22(1):22–24
Full text available here

Exsanguinating cardiac arrest not always fatal

The British Military has developed a reputation for aggressive pre-hospital critical care including (but not limited to) the use of blood products and tourniquets, and coordinated field hospital trauma care. They now report the outcomes for patients with traumatic cardiac arrest, mainly from improvised explosive devices. Of 52 patients, 14 (27%) demonstrated return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), of whom four (8%) survived to hospital discharge with a neurologically good recovery. Resuscitative thoracotomy (RT) was performed on 12 patients (8 in the ED), including all four survivors. RT enabled open-chest CPR, release of pericardial tamponade, lung resection and compression of the descending thoracic aorta for haemorrhage control.
No patients who arrested in the field survived, although one of the neurologically well-recovered survivors arrested during transport to hospital and was in cardiac arrest for 24 minutes. The authors propose this individual’s survival was in part due to ‘the high level of care that he received during retrieval, including haemorrhage control, tracheal intubation and transfusion of blood products‘.
Asystole was universally associated with death but agonal / bradycardic rhythms were not. In keeping with other studies, cardiac activity on ultrasound was associated with ROSC.

AIM: To determine the characteristics of military traumatic cardiorespiratory arrest (TCRA), and to identify factors associated with successful resuscitation.

METHODS: Data was collected prospectively for adult casualties suffering TCRA presenting to a military field hospital in Helmand Province, Afghanistan between 29 November 2009 and 13 June 2010.

RESULTS: Data was available for 52 patients meeting the inclusion criteria. The mean age (range) was 25 (18-36) years. The principal mechanism of injury was improvised explosive device (IED) explosion, the lower limbs were the most common sites of injury and exsanguination was the most common cause of arrest. Fourteen (27%) patients exhibited ROSC and four (8%) survived to discharge. All survivors achieved a good neurological recovery by Glasgow Outcome Scale. Three survivors had arrested due to exsanguination and one had arrested due to pericardial tamponade. All survivors had arrested after commencing transport to hospital and the longest duration of arrest associated with survival was 24min. All survivors demonstrated PEA rhythms on ECG during arrest. When performed, 6/24 patients had ultrasound evidence of cardiac activity during arrest; all six with cardiac activity subsequently exhibited ROSC and two survived to hospital discharge.

CONCLUSION: Overall rates of survival from military TCRA were similar to published civilian data, despite military TCRA victims presenting with high Injury Severity Scores and exsanguination due to blast and fragmentation injuries. Factors associated with successful resuscitation included arrest beginning after transport to hospital, the presence of electrical activity on ECG, and the presence of cardiac movement on ultrasound examination.

Outcomes following military traumatic cardiorespiratory arrest: A prospective observational study
Resuscitation. 2011 Sep;82(9):1194-7

New CPR Guidelines

The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation has published its five-yearly update of resuscitation guidelines.

The American Heart Association Guidelines can be accessed here

The European Resuscitation Guidelines can be accessed here

2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care Science
Circulation. 2010;122:S639