Focused echocardiography may be a useful tool in cardiopulmonary resuscitation for prognostication, to identify certain reversible causes of cardiac arrest, and to guide further management and procedures. Nonetheless, many clinicians have reservations regarding its widespread adoption due to evidence that it leads to prolonged interruption of cardiac compressions. Furthermore, the lack of a clear protocol for the inclusion of focused echocardiography into the rhythm check can lead to confusion in teams not familiar with incorporating the modality, as well as safety concerns for the echosonographer during delivery of a shock. We propose the protocol COACHRED to guide the use of focused echocardiography during rhythm check in a safe and timely manner. This approach incorporates the best strategies identified to date that minimise interruptions to chest compressions. We demonstrate that, in a simulation environment, it is achievable to incorporate focused echocardiography into the rhythm check while keeping the interruption to chest compressions within the timeframe prescribed by international guidelines.
Keywords: advanced cardiac life support; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; clinical protocol; echocardiography; ultrasonography.
© 2019 Australasian College for Emergency Medicine.