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Self-administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation by cough-induced cardiac compression.


Repeated rhythmic (every 1-3 sec.) coughs were documented to maintain consciousness up to 39 seconds in 3 patients developing ventricular fibrillation during coronary arteriography. The arterial pressure wave resulting from a cough exceeded that induced by external chest compression in 2 individuals in whom both techniques were employed and in 5 others treated by external compression alone. Cough-induced cardiac compression is self-performed, and compared to external chest compression is less likely to traumatize the chest wall or heart and can be performed in any position on any surface. It is recommended that patients undergoing coronary arteriography be previously trained to cough abruptly and repeatedly every 1-3 seconds. The potential for utilizing this technique in other areas (i.e., CCU, home) is less favorable than in catheterization-induced ventricular fibrillation, but it might be employed successfully in patients with premonitory symptoms of ventricular arrhythmias or Stokes-Adams seizures. The prior training of high risk individuals (and their spouses) to induce effective coughing in the victim might be lifesaving.

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