Background: Some clinical studies have suggested that chest compressions before defibrillation improve survival in cardiac arrest because of prolonged ventricular fibrillation (VF; ie, within the circulatory phase). Animal data have also supported this conclusion, and we have previously demonstrated that preshock chest compressions increase the VF median frequency and improve the likelihood of a return of spontaneous circulation in normal swine. We hypothesized that chest compressions before defibrillation in a swine model of acute myocardial ischemia would also increase VF median frequency and improve resuscitation outcome.
Methods and results: Twenty-six swine were subjected to balloon occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery for 2 hours. The balloon was removed and VF was induced and untreated for 8 minutes. Swine were then treated with up to 3 stacked defibrillation shocks (n=13, shock-first group) or 3 minutes of chest compressions before shock (n=13, preshock cardiopulmonary resuscitation group). In the preshock cardiopulmonary resuscitation group, median frequency was increased from 7.0+/-0.8 to 13.9+/-1.6 Hz after chest compressions (P=0.002). Despite the improved median frequency in the preshock cardiopulmonary resuscitation group, 24-hour survival with favorable neurological status was significantly worse in the preshock cardiopulmonary resuscitation group (1/13) compared with the shock-first group (8/13, P=0.01).
Conclusions: In a swine model of prolonged VF in acute myocardial ischemia, 24-hour survival with favorable neurological status was more likely when defibrillation was performed first without preceding chest compressions. Myocardial substrate is an important factor in determining the optimal resuscitation strategy.