Open-chest cardiopulmonary resuscitation: Past, present and future
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrests account for approximately 1000 sudden cardiac deaths per day in the United States. Since its introduction in 1960 closed-chest cardiac massage (CCCM) often takes place as an attempt at resuscitation, although its survival rates are low. Other resuscitation techniques are available to physicians such as open-chest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (OCCPR). OCCPR has been shown by several scientists to be hemodynamically superior to CCCM as it increases arterial pressures, cardiac output, coronary perfusion pressures, return of spontaneous circulation and cerebral blood flow. Improved neurological and cardiovascular outcome and an increase in survival rate compared to CCCM have been described. Timing is one of the key variables in determining patient outcome when performing OCCPR. The American Heart Association in association with the International Liaison Committee (ILCOR) has specific indications for the use of OCCPR. Some investigators recommend starting OCCPR in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests on arrival at the scene instead of CCCM. Surprisingly, the incidence of infectious complications after thoracotomy in an unprepared chest is low. The vast majority of the patients' families accept OCCPR as a therapeutic choice for cardiac arrests and it has been showed to be economically viable. This paper reviews some of the basic and advanced concepts of this evolving technique.