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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2015 January-March;19(1):23-30. Epub 2014 Jul 30.

Chest Compression Injuries Detected via Routine Post-arrest Care in Patients Who Survive to Admission after Out-of-hospital Cardiac Arrest.



To examine injuries produced by chest compressions in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients who survive to hospital admission.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted among 235 consecutive patients who were hospitalized after nontraumatic OHCA in Minnesota between January 2009 and May 2012 (117 survived to discharge; 118 died during hospitalization). Cases were eligible if the patient had received prehospital compressions from an emergency medical services (EMS) provider. One EMS provider in the area was using a mechanical compression device (LUCASTM) as standard equipment, so the association between injury and use of mechanical compression was also examined. Prehospital care information was abstracted from EMS run sheets, and hospital records were reviewed for injuries documented during the post-arrest hospitalization that likely resulted from compressions.


Injuries were identified in 31 patients (13%), the most common being rib fracture (9%) and intrathoracic hemorrhage (3%). Among those who survived to discharge, the mean length of stay was not statistically significantly different between those with injuries (13.5 days) and those without (10.8 days; p = 0.23). Crude injury prevalence was higher in those who died prior to discharge, had received compressions for >10 minutes (versus ≤10 minutes) and underwent computer tomography (CT) imaging, but did not differ by bystander compressions or use of mechanical compression. After multivariable adjustment, only compression time > 10 min and CT imaging during hospitalization were positively associated with detected injury (OR = 7.86 [95% CI = 1.7-35.9] and 6.30 [95% CI = 2.6-15.5], respectively).


In patients who survived OHCA to admission, longer duration of compressions and use of CT during the post-arrest course were associated positively with documented compression injury. Compression-induced injuries detected via routine post-arrest care are likely to be largely insignificant in terms of length of recovery.


cardiac arrest; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; chest compression; fractures; injuries; mechanical compression

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