For the September 2023 issue of CJEM, we collaborated with their team to present “Just the facts: traumatic cardiac arrest”1 in a visually simplified format.
Traumatic cardiac arrest shares many similarities, yet a few subtle differences from your typical medical resuscitation. Prognostically favourable factors such as shockable rhythm, and organized cardiac activity on ultrasound still exist. Compared to the medical counterpart, neurologically intact survival is often reliant on reversing the cause of the arrest through procedure. This can super-cede the need for chest compressions and CPR if it interferes with doing so in a timely manner.
This study, by Sowers and Hung, reviewed the approach to a traumatic cardiac arrest in your ED, and provided a review of standard resuscitation, and a few novel pearls you can consider. The use of point-of-care ultrasound, criteria for performing an ED thoracotomy, and a simplified algorithm is explored. For a summary of what the authors discussed, a .pdf version of a visual abstract on the topic can be found below:
- 1.Sowers N, Hung D. Just the facts: traumatic cardiac arrest. Can J Emerg Med. Published online June 16, 2023:724-727. doi:10.1007/s43678-023-00541-y