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Crit Care Med. 2005 Dec;33(12):2825-30.

In-hospital cardiac arrest.

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  • 1Weil Institute of Critical Care Medicine, Rancho Mirage, CA, USA.


To review the current management of in-hospital cardiac arrest and to identify variables that influence outcomes, OLDMEDLINE from 1950 to 1966 and MEDLINE from 1966 to March 2005 were searched using the keywords cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cardiac arrest, in hospital, and adult. Secondary sources were derived from review publications and personal communications by one of the authors. There is no secure evidence that the ultimate outcomes after cardiopulmonary resuscitation in settings of in-hospital cardiac arrest have improved in the >40 yrs that followed the landmark report by Kouwenhoven, Jude, and Knickerbocker, which launched the modern era of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. A paucity of objective measurements preclude secure protocols for sequencing of interventions and, even more, when to initiate and discontinue cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The preparedness of both physicians and nursing professionals to implement the published guidelines has itself been questioned. Whereas early access defibrillation with automated external defibrillators may be of benefit in out-of-hospital settings, there has as yet been no secure evidence that automated external defibrillators have had a favorable impact on in-hospital cardiopulmonary resuscitation when used on infrequent occasions by first responders. This contrasts with the much greater success of advanced life support providers and especially when electrical defibrillation is promptly performed by expertly trained personnel after onset of cardiac arrest. Outcomes are therefore improved in critical care settings and especially in coronary care units in which patients are continuously monitored.

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