Study objective: Emergency cardiac care guidelines emphasize treatment of cardiopulmonary arrest with continuous uninterrupted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) chest compressions. Paramedics in the United States perform endotracheal intubation on nearly all victims of out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest. We quantified the frequency and duration of CPR chest compression interruptions associated with paramedic endotracheal intubation efforts during out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest.
Methods: We studied adult out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest treated by an urban and a rural emergency medical services agency from the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium during November 2006 to June 2007. Cardiac monitors with compression sensors continuously recorded rescuer CPR chest compressions. A digital audio channel recorded all resuscitation events. We identified CPR interruptions related to endotracheal intubation efforts, including airway suctioning, laryngoscopy, endotracheal tube placement, confirmation and adjustment, securing the tube in place, bag-valve-mask ventilation between intubation attempts, and alternate airway insertion. We identified the number and duration of CPR interruptions associated with endotracheal intubation efforts.
Results: We included 100 of 182 out-of-hospital cardiopulmonary arrests in the analysis. The median number of endotracheal intubation-associated CPR interruption was 2 (interquartile range [IQR] 1 to 3; range 1 to 9). The median duration of the first endotracheal intubation-associated CPR interruption was 46.5 seconds (IQR 23.5 to 73 seconds; range 7 to 221 seconds); almost one third exceeded 1 minute. The median total duration of all endotracheal intubation-associated CPR interruptions was 109.5 seconds (IQR 54 to 198 seconds; range 13 to 446 seconds); one fourth exceeded 3 minutes. Endotracheal intubation-associated CPR pauses composed approximately 22.8% (IQR 12.6-36.5%; range 1.0% to 93.4%) of all CPR interruptions.
Conclusion: In this series, paramedic out-of-hospital endotracheal intubation efforts were associated with multiple and prolonged CPR interruptions.