What if you were performing CPR on your patient and he suddenly woke up?

CPR is a potentially life-saving technique that helps maintain blood circulation when someone’s heart stops beating. But what would you do if your patient suddenly woke up in the middle of a compression cycle? In a case out of Denmark, a 69 year-old male was awake intermittently throughout 90 minutes of CPR.

“As soon as CPR was initiated, the patient opened his eyes. When CPR was performed, the patient was able to respond to verbal communication by moving eyes, lifting hands and legs and nodding his head. The patient’s wife was present and able to hold his hand.”

However, when CPR was suspended, he immediately lost consciousness due to his non-functioning heart (which ultrasound confirmed). Although seemingly rare, CPR may be more common than we think. In a 2014 study, 2% of cardiac arrest survivors could clearly recall “seeing” or “hearing” actual events related to their resuscitation. Wow.

A similar situation occurred when a 52 year-old male presented as a witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. Paramedics in the field performed high-quality CPR with defibrillation. The patient underwent emergency percutaneous coronary intervention for a 100% occlusion of his left anterior descending artery. The patient returned home 3 days later fully recovered.

Does this call for a change in how we manage the administration of CPR?

During this live episode I discuss these cases, the possibility of introducing sedation during CPR, the need for better protocols, and the ethical dilemma CPR awareness presents. Check out the original episode on Facebook and tell us what you think. Has this happened to you during a code? What are your opinions on having a standardized CPR sedation protocol or post-CPR psychological counseling? Comment and please share, it helps grow our movement more thank you know!

Note: the ZPac sent in hundreds of stories of CPR-induced consciousness, including some EMS protocols that have been put in place. The Tribe speaks!


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