Ventricular Fibrillation Waveform Analysis During Chest Compressions to Predict Survival From Cardiac Arrest

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2019 Jan;12(1):e006924. doi: 10.1161/CIRCEP.118.006924.


Background: Quantitative measures of the ventricular fibrillation (VF) ECG waveform can assess myocardial physiology and predict cardiac arrest outcomes, making these measures a candidate to help guide resuscitation. Chest compressions are typically paused for waveform measure calculation because compressions cause ECG artifact. However, such pauses contradict resuscitation guideline recommendations to minimize cardiopulmonary resuscitation interruptions. We evaluated a comprehensive group of VF measures with and without ongoing compressions to determine their performance under both conditions for predicting functionally-intact survival, the study's primary outcome.

Methods: Five-second VF ECG segments were collected with and without chest compressions before 2755 defibrillation shocks from 1151 out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients. Twenty-four individual measures and 3 combination measures were implemented. Measures were optimized to predict functionally-intact survival (Cerebral Performance Category score ≤2) using 460 training cases, and their performance evaluated using 691 independent test cases.

Results: Measures predicted functionally-intact survival on test data with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve ranging from 0.56 to 0.75 (median, 0.73) without chest compressions and from 0.53 to 0.75 (median, 0.69) with compressions ( P<0.001 for difference). Of all measures evaluated, the support vector machine model ranked highest both without chest compressions (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.73-0.78) and with compressions (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.72-0.78; P=0.75 for difference).

Conclusions: VF waveform measures predict functionally-intact survival when calculated during chest compressions, but prognostic performance is generally reduced compared with compression-free analysis. However, support vector machine models exhibited similar performance with and without compressions while also achieving the highest area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. Such machine learning models may, therefore, offer means to guide resuscitation during uninterrupted cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Keywords: artifact; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; cause of death; support vector machine; ventricular fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Aged
  • Artifacts
  • Electrocardiography*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / diagnosis
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / mortality
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / physiopathology
  • Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest / therapy*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Resuscitation / adverse effects
  • Resuscitation / methods*
  • Resuscitation / mortality
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Support Vector Machine
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / mortality
  • Ventricular Fibrillation / physiopathology