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J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2013 Aug;75(2 Suppl 2):S173-7. doi: 10.1097/TA.0b013e318299d9ee.

Feasibility of blind aortic catheter placement in the prehospital environment to guide resuscitation in cardiac arrest.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7594, USA.



Aortic catheter-based resuscitation therapies are emerging with laboratory investigations showing benefit in models of trauma-related noncompressible torso hemorrhage and nontraumatic cardiac arrest. For these investigational aortic catheter-based therapies to reach their greatest potential clinical benefit, the ability to initiate them in the prehospital setting will be important. Feasibility of prehospital aortic catheterization without imaging capability supports this potential and is described in this report.


A physician prehospital response system was created in cooperation with the local emergency medical services system to provide invasive hemodynamic monitoring during cardiac arrest. Physicians were dispatched to all known or suspected prehospital cardiac arrests covered by the emergency medical services system. Physicians responded with a specialized vascular catheterization pack and a monitor with invasive pressure monitoring capability. The physicians performed blind thoracic aortic and central venous catheterizations in cardiac arrest patients in the prehospital setting to measure coronary perfusion pressure, to optimize closed-chest cardiopulmonary resuscitation technique, and to administer intra-aortic epinephrine.


During a 2-year period, 22 medical cardiac arrest patients underwent prehospital invasive hemodynamic monitoring to guide resuscitation. Most patients had both aortic and central venous catheters inserted. The combination of intra-aortic epinephrine and adjustments in closed-chest cardiopulmonary resuscitation technique resulted in improved coronary perfusion pressure. Return of spontaneous circulation with survival to hospital admission was achieved in 50% (11 of 22) of these patients.


This report demonstrates the feasibility of successful blind aortic and central venous catheterizations in the prehospital environment and supports the potential feasibility of other emerging aortic catheter-based resuscitation therapies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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