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Am J Emerg Med. 2012 Jul;30(6):1015.e1-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2011.04.016. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Association of mechanical chest compression and prehospital thrombolysis.

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Department of Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care, Timone University Hospital, Marseille, France.


Pulmonary embolism (PE) is a common cause of sudden death; the use of prehospital thrombolysis is currently a last-resort option and requires a prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Novel mechanical devices have recently been introduced that provides automatic mechanical chest compression (AMCC) according to the guidelines and continually without decrease efficiency throughout prolonged resuscitation. A 54 year-old woman with a history of breast cancer experienced sudden chest pain and severe dyspnea. A mobile intensive care unit was dispatched to her home. During physical examination, she suddenly collapsed with pulseless electrical activity as the initial rhythm. Prehospital thrombolysis during CPR combined with use of AMCC was performed based on a strongly suspected diagnosis of massive PE. After 75 minutes of effective CPR, return of spontaneous circulation was attained. After admission to an intensive care unit, computed tomographic scan confirmed bilateral PE. The patient was discharged 3 weeks after CPR in good neurologic condition. To our knowledge, this is the first case describing combined use of thrombolysis and AMCC in out-ofhospital cardiac arrest. However, for the time being, prehospital thrombolysis in CPR continues to be a measure that should only be performed on a case-by-case basis based on informed decision. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of AMCC with thrombolysis and thus prolonged CPR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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