Aetiologies of pulseless electrical activity in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests:A retrospective study and analysis of specific causes


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A Master's thesis.
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Master (thesis) (master)
Aetiologies of pulseless electrical activity in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests:A retrospective study and analysis of specific causes
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
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Background: Pulseless electrical activity (PEA) cardiac arrest is defined as a cardiac arrest (CA) presenting with a residual organized electrical activity on the electrocardiogram. In the last decades, the incidence of PEA has regularly increased, compared to other types of CA like ventricular fibrillation or pulseless ventricular tachycardia. PEA is frequently induced by reversible conditions. The "4 (or 5) H" & "4 (or 5) T" are proposed as a mnemonic to asses for Hypoxia, Hypovolemia, Hypo- /Hyperkalaemia, Hypothermia, Thrombosis (cardiac or pulmonary), cardiac Tamponade, Toxins, and Tension pneumothorax. Other pathologies (intracranial haemorrhage, severe sepsis, myocardial contraction dysfunction) have been identified as potential causes for PEA, but their respective probability and frequencies are unclear and they are not yet included into the resuscitation guidelines. The aim of this study was to analyse the aetiologies of PEA out-of-hospital CA, in order to evaluate the relative frequencies of each cause and therefore to improve the management of patients suffering a PEA cardiac arrest.
Method: This retrospective study was based on data routinely and prospectively collected for each PEMS intervention. All adult patients treated from January 1st 2002 to December 2012 31st by the PEMS for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, with PEA as the first recorded rhythm, and admitted to the emergency department (ED) of the Lausanne University Hospital were included. The aetiologies of PEA cardiac arrest were classified into subgroups, based on the classical H&T's classification, supplemented by four other subgroups analysis: trauma, intra-cranial haemorrhage (ICH), non-ischemic cardiomyopathy (NIC) and undetermined cause.
Results: 1866 OHCA were treated by the PEMS. PEA was the first recorded rhythm in 240 adult patients (13.8 %). After exclusion of 96 patients, 144 patients with a PEA cardiac arrest admitted to the ED were included in the analysis. The mean age was 63.8 ± 20.0 years, 58.3% were men and the survival rate at 48 hours was 29%. 32 different causes of OHCA PEA were established for 119 patients. For 25 patients (17.4 %), we were unable to attribute a specific cause for the PEA cardiac arrest. Hypoxia (23.6 %), acute coronary syndrome (12.5%) and trauma (12.5 %) were the three most frequent causes. Pulmonary embolism, Hypovolemia, Intoxication and Hyperkaliemia occurs in less than 10% of the cases (7.6 %, 5.6 %, 3.5%, respectively 2.1 %). Non ischemic cardiomyopathy and intra-cranial haemorrhage occur in 8.3 % and 6.9 %, respectively.
Conclusions: According to our results, intra-cranial haemorrhage and non-ischemic cardiomyopathy represent noticeable causes of PEA in OHCA, with a prevalence equalling or exceeding the frequency of classical 4 H's and 4 T's aetiologies. These two pathologies are potentially accessible to simple diagnostic procedures (native CT-scan or echocardiography) and should be included into the 4 H's and 4 T's mnemonic.
Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, pulseless electrical activity, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, cause of death, change aetiologies.
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03/09/2015 11:03
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20/08/2019 15:10
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