Effect of chest compressions on ventricular activation

Academic Article


  • External mechanical forces can cause ventricular capture and fibrillation (i.e., commotio cordis). In animals, we showed that chest compressions (CCs) can also cause the phenomenon. The aim of the present study was to determine whether ventricular capture by CCs occurs in humans. Electronic rhythm strips were analyzed in 31 cases of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. The timing of the CCs was identified from the changes in thoracic impedance between the defibrillator pads. Ventricular capture was defined as QRS complexes of similar morphology occurring intermittently but synchronized with the CC artifact and impedance waveform. Only intermittent ventricular capture was identified to avoid misclassifying constant motion artifacts or intrinsic rhythm as ventricular capture. Of the 29 patients who received CCs for <1 minute, minimal or stable motion artifact was present in 24. Intermittent ventricular capture was found in 7 of the 24 patients. In the patients with ventricular capture, the number of ventricular activations (from ventricular capture and native beats) was greater during the CCs than when the CCs was not being performed (18 ± 8.9 vs 9.7 ± 4.0 activations in 15 seconds, p = 0.01). However, in patients without ventricular capture, they were similar (6.8 ± 8.2 vs 7.2 ± 8.8 activations in 15 seconds, p = 0.47). Refibrillation occurred in 22 patients; it began during the CCs in 16 and closely following their initiation in 3. In conclusion, CCs during cardiopulmonary resuscitation can electrically stimulate the heart. Additional studies evaluating the effect of ventricular capture on cardiopulmonary resuscitation outcomes, its relation to refibrillation, and methods to prevent or time ventricular capture by CCs are warranted. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Osorio J; Dosdall DJ; Tabereaux PB; Robichaux RP; Stephens S; Kerby JD; Stickney RE; Pogwizd S; Ideker RE
  • Start Page

  • 670
  • End Page

  • 674
  • Volume

  • 109
  • Issue

  • 5