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Pediatr Res. 2011 May;69(5 Pt 1):401-5. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e3182125f7f.

End-tidal CO₂ detection of an audible heart rate during neonatal cardiopulmonary resuscitation after asystole in asphyxiated piglets.

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Department of Pediatrics, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas 75390, USA.


Even brief interruption of cardiac compressions significantly reduces critical coronary perfusion pressure during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). End-tidal CO₂ (ETCO₂) monitoring may provide a continuous noninvasive method of assessing return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) without stopping to auscultate for heart rate (HR). However, the ETCO₂ value that correlates with an audible HR is unknown. Our objective was to determine the threshold ETCO₂ that is associated with ROSC after asphyxia-induced asystole. Neonatal swine (n = 46) were progressively asphyxiated until asystole occurred. Resuscitation followed current neonatal guidelines with initial ventilation with 100% O₂ followed by cardiac compressions followed by epinephrine for continued asystole. HR was auscultated every 30 s, and ETCO₂ was continuously recorded. A receiver operator curve was generated using the calculated sensitivity and specificity for various ETCO₂ values, where a positive test was defined as the presence of HR >60 bpm by auscultation. An ETCO₂ cut-off value of 14 mm Hg is the most sensitive ETCO₂ value with the least false positives. When using ETCO₂ to guide uninterrupted CPR in this model of asphyxia-induced asystole, auscultative confirmation of return of an adequate HR should be performed when ETCO₂ ≥ 14 mm Hg is achieved. Correlation during human neonatal CPR needs further investigation.

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