Over at EDECMO we talk about the huge benefits of ECPR demonstrated by the fact that there are neurologically intact survivors when ECMO is initiated at the point of cessation of standard ACLS. But what if standard ACLS had not stopped… What if you just kept going?
Mirroring Cliff Reid’s amazing talk: When Should We Stop Resuscitation?, I present Sam’s case.
From Sam G:
I just experienced probably the most amazing case I’ve ever been a part of this past Monday. This case has become the talk of the place, as it was very controversial within the world emergency medicine, critical care and cardiology here @ Janus General. It was discussed in M&M and there is gonna be a joint multidisciplinary thing, etc. But otherwise there is no one else’s opinion I would be more interested to hear than yours, so I wanna share it with you:
I was working shift in Major Treatment Area here at Janus General, and we hear we’re getting a med resusc… rolls in a guy looks to be in about his 60’s (turns out he was 59). Story was :
Witnessed Arrest with bystander CPR… shockable for EMS, but shocked 6-7 times… meds given were for some reason only bicarb and Lidocaine (not sure why?)
I will share with you my documentation, only b/c it will save me tons of typing and I trust sending it to you..
This patient was seen in the resuscitation bay along side Dr. XXXXX concurrently. This patient presents status-post witnessed cardiac arrest after return of spontaneous circulation. His rhythm was always shockable per EMS. He arrived with a King airway in place. There was a large air leak noted. CPR was in progress shortly after arrival as he was noted to not have pulses. Chest compressions were resumed immediately and multiple rounds of CPR with multiple rounds of epinephrine, and medications including amiodarone, bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium were administered. Please see nursing medications charting.
Multiple echocardiographic images were obtained by myself. Please see computer for images. The patient was noted to be in and out of ventricular fib. CPR was continued in line with ACLS protocol. The King Airway was removed and endotracheal intubation was performed by myself using a MAC 4 blade and an 8.0 endotracheal tube without difficulty. There was good condensation on the tube, good chest rise, and end tidal CO2 was detected immediately with excellent wave-form. Intra-code bedside echo was performed and revealed no evidence of right ventricular enlargement or strain on echo, or any other signs of massive pulmonary embolism. There was also no pericardial effusion. Echo did show akinesis/hypokinesis inferiorly and somewhat laterally as well. The inferior wall was essentially akinetic. Anterior wall motion was clearly preserved. This was best seen on the parasternal long and short axes.
There was very high suspicion for acute coronary event. Furthermore there was no evidence of hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, hypokalemia, hyperkalemia. The patient’s pH was noted to be significantly acidotic, and 2 additional ampules of sodium bicarbonate were administered at that time. There was good sliding bilaterally on ultrasound. There was no evidence of massive pulmonary embolism on echo, and there was no evidence of pneumothorax. Intravenous fluids were pressure bagged in. There was no significant hypothermia. End tidal was difficult to interpret due to multiple ampules of sodium bicarbonate. After nearly 45 minutes of aggressive CPR the decision was made to use thrombolytics because we felt strongly that this was an acute myocardial event, it was also strongly felt that without thrombolytics stabilization and termination of electrical storm could otherwise not be accomplished, in order to get this patient to the cath lab.
The decision was made to was give teneceteplase intravenously, as again, stabilization and return of spontaneous circulation continued to only be transient. It was felt that the patient could not be stabilized for cath lab intervention, and this was our last resort. Following the administration of TNK, the patient did not have any further episodes of v-tac/fib/pulselessness. EKG finally obtained after termination of storm revealed injury pattern in inferior leads II, III, and aVF. There was evidence of left bundle branch block, however there was severely excessive DISCORDANCE in leads 3 and aVF. Elevation was 7 or 8 mm,greater than 5mm being concerning for STEMI, and also of note far greater than 25% of the S Wave. Lead II showed excessive CONCORDANT ST Elevation of multiple mms, far surpassing the 1mm requirement of Sgarbossa’s Criteria. These findings of inferior coronary artery distribution involvement correlated excellently with the wall motion abnormalities noted on echo . Code STEMI was called, and code cool was initiated as well. The patient was placed on norepinephrine drip. The patient was also placed on amiodarone drip. This case was discussed at length with critical care and cardiology attendings at the bedside.
Cardiology felt that since thrombolytics were given, Cath Lab was not indicated at this time. Of note, it was contemplated to cease efforts, however since this was a witnessed arrest with immediate CPR, and the rhythms were always shockable, the decision was made to continue efforts. As the patient was in dire straits, it was felt that benefits outweighed the risks of bleeding, and it my sincerest hope that the thrombolytics benefit the patient for his highly suspected STEMI. The patient was admitted to the intensive care unit in very critical condition.
We weren’t able to get an EKG until well near the end of the code, bc he would revert right back to v-fib after transient ROSC… he did this the entire code.. I might have stopped if it wasn’t for the resident, Dr. Karina Reyner, insisting that she was not comfortable calling it as the patient was still shockable…we discussed the increasing likelihood as the code went on of bringing back the heart but not the brain … well, she asked “why not just push lytics?” …. My philosophy is I will not run a half-ass code… if the code is running it’s all or nothing, I figured this was 1. witness with immediate CPR 2. He was consistently in a shockable rhythm… and 3. knew the CPR he got for the past 45 minutes was excellent.. the tech’s were doing amazing compressions.. (in fact we broke his sternum) ..so –we pushed lytics… After lytics were pushed the storm relented and the patient had no further episodes of V fib/tac…
It’s crazy that he got lytics at a cath center w/one of the best door balloon times in the nation… weird and interesting concept… I know he would have not made it without lytics though… cards doesn’t take CPR in progress patients, and when they came down, I was shocked at the overwhelming resistance, even before they knew we pushed lytics… there was not only resistance to taking the patient to cath, but even questioning the diagnosis. I was amazed at the response… this is despite clinical picture, hx, EKG, and Echo all pointing to a diagnosis of nothing other than STEMI.
Overall, we got a lot of shit from both Cards and Crit Care for pushing lytics at a cath center… but here’s the most amazing part of the story, and what makes it such a big deal:
Patient was following commands a few hrs later in the ICU… (ICU doc called down to tell us)… he did have a GI bleed, but that did resolve without surgical intervention. He was extubated w/in 24 hrs.. A-line removed.. His GCS is 15. I went and saw him yesterday and he was very tearful and appreciative… kept saying “so humbling…” “I guess it wasn’t my time…” He has picts on the wall in the ICU of his granddaughter an was saying how he gets to see her again…
This case is amazing for so many different reasons, but.. the obvious is lytics given for suspected STEMI @ cath center…
Should lytics be pushed intra-code with refractory and electrical storm even if at a cath center?
Also interesting that we didn’t give him 9 to 15 doses of Epi as ACLS would call for… I have a feeling this would’ve crushed his chances as well…
Anyway I have attached the EKG’s… 1st one was the only one done in the ED. The remainder were when he was upstairs… Cards Echo’s showed exactly what mine did. Trop next day was >100… but he made it and is doing stellar.
I will send the Echo clips as well… amazing that you can see the wall motion abnormalities even when he is in Vtac/Fib…
This is by far the longest CPR to make it neuro intact that I’ve ever experienced… Dying to know what you think about all the pertinent issues! Let me know if you have any other questions about the case…Thanks so much..
Scott- I think a wee about this would be awesome. There just are so many critical issues to discuss, like:
- Should we maybe be lysing more cardiac arrest STEMI’s (whether you have a pre-hospital confirmatory EKG, or strong evidence to suspect), despite being at a cath center?
- If you do lyse and the patient attains and maintains ROSC, shouldn’t these people get cath still?
- Does TNK vs other lytics play a big rule? We have TNK here b/c of Kline, and I have pushed it one other time earlier in the year on a crashing pt with high clinical suspicion, and u/s showing everything (Huge Rv, Huge Ra, flattening, paradoxical motion, McConnel’s) and this guy stabilized after a few hrs, got a repeat cardiology echo that was read as normal, got a follow up ct that showed b/l PE’s… and was d/c’d after a short stay of only 4-5 days. It just makes me wonder how much of a difference other lytics would/wouldn’t make.
- When do you stop CPR? Our patient had end tidals that were like 30’s or 40’s or so I believe, but he also got prehospital bicarb, and then 3 additional total amps by us… but even in the absence of bicarb admin, I don’t know of any evidence showing that a higher end-tidal means don’t stop… (versus saying less than 10 with 20 mins of CPR you can basically stop)
- I am also convinced that if we slammed him with epi every 3-5 minutes, that he wouldn’t have made it neurologically intact… possibly another point of discussion.
- This wasn’t as much of a problem for us b/c the patient would convert with electricity, (end-tidal spike) as well as after the 2 mins of continuing right back on the chest after the shock, he would be in a perfusing rhythm (junctional, etc)… and then quickly revert back… Buuuut- Amal shared with me an extremely interesting idea that I had not heard of, and he says they are doing this at Maryland, and the medics are doing it in the field as well (no great evidence), but putting 2 defibrillators attached to the patient (4 pads), and shocking at 720J!. (double-sequential defibrillation)
Anyway- I’m sure there are more issues as well, but obviously the biggest in our case is lysis, intracode, cath center, cath after lysis, etc
If you have any more questions or want any other info about our case let me know. Looking forward to this!
This is just one of many echo clips from this case. The Ultrasound Podcast guys will be doing an episode with Sam on intra-arrest echo to discuss these clips further.