Mechanical CPR : Who? When? How?
In cardiac arrest, high quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a key determinant of patient survival. However, delivery of effective chest compressions is often inconsistent, subject to fatigue and practically challenging.
Mechanical CPR devices provide an automated way to deliver high-quality CPR. Although, large randomized controlled trials of the routine use of mechanical devices in the out-of-hospital setting have found no evidence of improved patient outcome in patients treated with mechanical CPR, compared with manual CPR. The limited data on use during in-hospital cardiac arrest provides preliminary data supporting use of mechanical devices, but this needs to be robustly tested in randomized controlled trials.
In situations where high-quality manual chest compressions cannot be safely delivered, the use of a mechanical device may be a reasonable clinical approach. Examples of such situations include ambulance transportation, primary percutaneous coronary intervention, as a bridge to extracorporeal CPR and to facilitate uncontrolled organ donation after circulatory death.
The precise time point during a cardiac arrest at which to deploy a mechanical device is uncertain, particularly in patients presenting in a shockable rhythm. The deployment process requires interruptions in chest compression, which may be harmful if the pause is prolonged. It is recommended that use of mechanical devices should occur only in systems where quality assurance mechanisms are in place to monitor and manage pauses associated with deployment.
In summary, mechanical CPR devices may provide a useful adjunct to standard treatment in specific situations, but current evidence does not support their routine use.
Keywords: Cardiac arrest; Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Mechanical CPR; Review.