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Int J Legal Med. 1996;109(2):84-9.

Serious complications from active compression-decompression cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

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Institut für Forensische Medizin, Leopold-Franzens-Universität, Innsbruck, Austria.


Complications arising from techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) were reviewed by analysing the autopsy protocols of 25 patients who died after standard (Std) CPR and 31 who died after active compression-decompression (ACD) CPR, 15 of them preceded by Std CPR. The results can be summarised as follows: After Std CPR (n = 25) rib fractures were detected in 28%, sternal fractures in 16%, and no injuries in 68%. After ACD-CPR (n = 16) rib fractures occurred in 68%, sternal fractures in 68% and no injuries in 25%. After ACD-CPR following Std CPR(n = 15) rib fractures were detected in 93%, sternal fractures in 93%, and no patients were without thoracic fracture. In two patients severe cardiac injuries occurred clearly attributable to CPR. In conclusion cardiopulmonary resuscitation by the ACD-technique caused rib and sternal fractures more often than Std CPR and has a higher risk for iatrogenic cardiac and possible fatal injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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