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Am J Cardiol. 1988 Nov 15;62(16):1048-52.

Factors affecting transthoracic impedance during electrical cardioversion.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City 52242.


Successful cardioversion is dependent on the delivery of sufficient current. Current is determined by energy and transthoracic impedance (TTI). Our purpose was to assess factors affecting TTI in humans. Twenty-eight patients undergoing elective cardioversion were monitored up to 48 hours after shock delivery. We also studied 10 normal subjects, who did not receive shocks, for comparison. TTI declined 8% in the first hour in patients who received shocks, but also 6% in the normal subjects who wore the same pads for 1 hour but received no shocks. Twenty-four hours later, TTI returned to baseline in the nonshocked subjects but remained reduced (93% of control, p less than 0.05) in the shocked patients. There was a correlation between the total energy delivered and the decline in TTI (r = 0.69). TTI was 9% lower at end-expiration than at end-inspiration (55 +/- 3 vs 50 +/- 3 ohms, mean +/- standard error of the mean, p less than 0.01, paired t test). In the normal subjects, when a nonsalt-containing coupling agent (ultrasound coupling gel) was compared with a salt-containing gel (Redux paste), TTI was 20% higher (65 +/- 5 vs 54 +/- 4 ohms, p less than 0.01) with the nonsalt-containing gel. When no coupling agent was used, TTI was markedly higher, 160 +/- 18 ohms (p less than 0.01 vs control). After 1 hour, TTI decreased 6% in the normal subjects when salt-containing gel was used, but did not change when a nonsalt gel was used.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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