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End tidal carbon dioxide as an haemodynamic determinant of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the rat

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/23.4.364 364-368 First published online: 1 April 1989


End tidal PCO2 (PETCO2) has been found to be a good prognostic indicator of successful resuscitation from cardiac arrest. To explore the value of this measurement further, we carried out a series of experiments during cardiac arrest and closed chest resuscitation in 14 mechanically ventilated Sprague-Dawley rats. Ventricular fibrillation (VF) was induced by a 10 mA current delivered to the right ventricular endocardium. After 4 min of VF, precordial compression was begun with a mechanical thumper and defibrillation was attempted 2 min later. PETCO2 decreased abruptly during cardiac arrest to 0.3 mm Hg (0.04 kPa). With precordial compression, it increased to 11 mm Hg (1.5 kPa). Within 3 min of successful defibrillation, there was an overshoot in the PETCO2 to 44 mm Hg (5.8 kPa) with return to baseline levels approximating those of the pre-arrest control measurements over the 60 min that followed restoration of spontaneous circulation. The PETCO2 measurement during precordial compression predicted the success of defibrillation with return of spontaneous circulation. When PETCO2 exceeded 9 mm Hg (1.2 kpA), 7 of 8 animals were successfully resuscitated. When PETCO2 was less than 9 mm Hg during precordial compression, none of six animals were successfully resuscitated. The PETCO2 correlated with the mean aortic (r=0.71) and coronary perfusion pressure (r=0.80) generated during precordial compression.

In corroboration of previously reported observations on pigs, dogs, and human patients, PETCO2 served as a non-invasive monitor of the effectiveness of precordial compression for maintaining coronary perfusion and therefore cardiac viability during CPR. The PETCO2 was also useful in that it promptly signalled restoration of spontaneous circulation.

Key words
  • cardiac arrest
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • capnography
  • non-invasive monitor

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