Podcast 125 – The New Intra-Arrest from SMACCgold


Here’s my first lecture from SMACCgold: The New Intra-Arrest. It generated a bit of controversy amongst my critical care friends, so we’ll be discussing various parts in more detail in the coming weeks.


 Links and References

VSE Stuff

JAMA 2013;310(3):270

1 mg Epi and 20 IU Vasopressin Q3 minutes for 5 cycles, plus 40mg methylprednisolone for the 1st cycle. Hydrocortisone if in persistent shock

Journal Club Crit Care 2014;18:308

Why Epi and not Phenylephrine

From MH Weil’s Article Above:
Adrenergic agents with predominant a2 effect have been shown to be more effective as vasoconstrictor drugs, presumably because extrajunctional a2-receptors are more accessible to circulating catecholamines than postjunctional a1-receptors. This may explain why adrenergic amines that have predominant a1 actions such as methoxamine (Vasoxyl) and phenylephrine (Neo-Synephrine) are less effective than epinephrine after prolonged cardiac arrest.

Mechanical CPR

LUCAS seems equivalent to excellent manual compressions (from ResusMe)

Cardiac Arrest: To the cath lab with ongoing chest compressions?

Steve Smith has a great post on the topic with a ton of evidence

Consider Dual-Shock for Non-Converting VF/VT

Charles Bruen has a great post with the evidence



Beta-blockade should be considered in all patients with RVF in the ED prior to cessation of resuscitative efforts.

The Slides

Now on to the Podcast…



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  1. Nikolay Yusupov says

    Curious as to how are you able to get the other staff (nursing, respiratory, er tech etc.) not only understand “Truly Advanced Cardiac Life Support for Resuscitationist” but be on board after years of AHA “cook book” courses?

    Everyone knows how to set up (all the equipment) Lucus device and all respiratory is on board to use the ventilator during arrest etc?

    If you are not there to supervise is it still performed to your standards?

  2. Graeme Pickford says

    Would like to know more on using a custom bent Levitan/Shikani/Bonfils optical stylet down a LMA. Is it easier than a bronchscope/flexible scope down a LMA? Which LMA? Do you use it outside of CPR? Wee?

  3. says

    Long time listner. This podcast really blew my mind. It made me rethink my whole approach to running a code and what is really possible. The dosing of epi along with the femoral aline is a great idea.

  4. Ken Grauer, MD says

    Credit to you Scott. You are a pioneer blazing pathways in the most admirable fashion possible. Your talk on the New Intra-Arrest was totally “inspirational”. Keep up the GREAT work!

  5. Jeremy says

    What is your dose of steroids and vasopressin? How many times do you give each? Do you give the 300mg dose of hydrocortisone after ROSC?

  6. Jakob Mathiszig-Lee says

    Great talk. I really like the idea of adrenaline titrated to diastolic BP, makes alot of sense. Just curious if you’re thinking about using long a-lines to get into the aortic arch as suggested in the SAAP podcast? Or do you think actually at the moment it’s best to bypass that and go straight to ECMO?

    While in med school not very long ago i heard a talk from Prof. Douglas Chamberlain for was one of the guys who really pushed forward ALS in europe. He wasn’t a fan of adrenaline any more but he also passionate that we as doctors and other professions working around resus should be doing much more sophisticate resus that what’s currently required.

  7. Patton Thompson says

    I agree with the other listeners that this truly is a cutting edge approach to resuscitation. However, I think it seems to be best suited for an ED resus room or perhaps even ICU / OR. Have you published or plan on publishing data that show improved neurologically intact survival when you use this bundle? How would you modify your approach to be cutting edge intra-arrest care for the “floor code” inpatient where we don’t have quantitative ETCO2, Mechanical Ventilators, A-Line Transducers/Monitors, LUCAS devices, ECMO cannula etc. readily available?

    • Jakob Mathiszig-Lee says

      Do you have a resus officer that comes along to arrests? One of the hospitals i worked in had one who’d bring a monitor that had etc02. If the patient was an ITU canditate the tech would bring up an oxylog too. Hospital i’m at now has a pocket etc02 monitor for the gasman (or woman) who’s on the crash team that day. LUCAS comes in a bag too so you could potentially bring that to every arrest if there was the motivation.

  8. Don zweig says

    Reference for steroids? As usual great talk that will improve the care i deliver! I love emcrit.

  9. Erik says

    Nice talk. Common sense stuff. A couple of thoughts:
    – If you could really get ECMO down (and complication rates) eventually we could presumably do away with ventilators and chest compressions altogether. Even for routine OR cases or ICUs. That would be pretty cool. Right now the engineering issues (flow through a tube, RBC destruction, coagulation issues) haven’t been worked out, but never say never…
    – I like the Cook gas “AirQ” intubating LMA. Works well if you’re doing one of those tube-through-LMA deals
    – Machine CPR compression in theory is great; logistically my experience is that it’s a pain. CPR has to be stopped to get the pt on it, and sometimes the habitus is such that it’s difficult not to be giving belly CPR. (And since you didn’t use cricoid pressure the patient aspirated all over). When it works it’s great though.
    – A big issue I have with resuscitation is in the origin of the arrest. *Most* out-of-hospital arrests are cardiac and ventilation doesn’t seem to be as big a deal; however, most IN-hospital arrests are respiratory (even on our cardiac units). Furthermore, some of these folks have some pulm HTN with R heart strain. These guys you have to ventilate or they will stay dead. ALS doesn’t differentiate between these two causes at present.

  10. Ben Dowdy says

    ….and you just sent me to the online databases. Again. (Which I don’t mind at all…). Great stuff! We gotta talk about the playlist, though….how did “Kickstart My Heart” not make the cut?? :)

  11. Kyle says


    Awesome discussion! I’ve always wondered about ACLS and have had arguments with other peers that ACLS is just guidelines that cavemen could perform…A bad meal from the pages of cook-book medicine…. We should be doing more for these patients. Nice to hear the frustration being displayed on a national level..

    I’m fortunate to work in a facility that has Lucas devices in place. Amazing results and echo how calm the room is without the long line waiting to jump on the “compression stool.”

    Some of our pre-hospsital provider agencies have the Lucas device in the ambulances. For the other services which do not have a Lucas device, we have noticed the delay and/or decrease in quality in compressions from when the patient arrives in the EMS bay trying to get them unloaded to the resuscitation room. Therefore, we have implemented a “Lucas alert” which is paged over ahead when the ambulance arrives in the EMS bay with the coding patient.

    So what’s a “Lucas alert?” Still in a trial period but a nurse and tech meet the EMS unit in the EMS bay with a Lucas device for any patient 50 years of age or younger and or in any patient who is peristant v-fib/tach and place it on the patient before the patients stretcher leaves the back of the ambulance. Some of our agencies have 30 min ETAs and I’m sure they are thankful to see the Lucas device be placed to finally give them a break!

    Thanks again for awesome podcast!

  12. says

    Dr. Weingart,

    Excellent and thought provoking talk. A couple of questions based on what you said:

    – Isn’t there more evidence showing harm from mechanical CPR devices than benefit?

    – Is there any evidence to support advanced airways in the cardiac arrest patient? I understand that there is research showing harm with the use of “cuffed” supraglottic devices, but we use the I-gel, which I have not seen any evidence against; furthermore, it appears it would be more beneficial to utilize upstroke ventilation with or without a ET tube in place.

    – In regards to epinephrine, if it is the alpha effect we are trying to gain benefit from only, why not utilize levophed? I’m sure that the answer has something to do with the automaticity achieved from epinephrine administration…

    – Are you publishing any of the data that you have collected utilizing your approach?

    • says

      1. Nope-the real trials of current devices show no increased complications

      2. You’d have to clarify what you mean that it appears more beneficial to utilize upstroke ventilation

      3. I think levophed is a better choice than epi as well, but we have to either do a norepi vs. placebo or a norepi vs. placebo vs. epi. Do you have 6000 patients you can lend me

      4. Bundle publications are fraught with problems, I’d rather see each component proven. People smarter than me are working on exactly that.

      • says

        Thank you for your quick reply.

        Does the current research recommend one particular mechanical compression device over the other (circumferential band vs. piston driven)?

        In regards to the second question. You made mention to supraglottic devices and how we can not achieve the pressures necessary to ventilate the patient on the downstroke of chest compressions. I was just asking if ventilation on the upstroke is preferred.

        I unfortunately do not have a 6000 patient study group to loan you, there are a ton of people in East Asia though. 😉

  13. says

    Don’t believe your own dis-hype, it was a great lecture! Way to integrate all the cutting edge stuff, and not “just” one, and make people see, more importantly, the physiology of it, and the importance of tailoring to each patient. I’ve always said that people confuse the concept of guidelines with that of optimal care. Guidelines are just that, lines by which to guide you, not railroad tracks. They are needed to some degree, however, as there are some who do resuscitation but are not resuscitationists, if you catch my drift, and then those guidelines are better than what they might come up with…but many of us can certainly do better.

    Thanks for another great podcast!


    …and sorry for being so slow to join the CME – kept meaning to and forgetting, but now it’s done, and everyone should do so!!!


  14. Ken Grauer, MD says

    As per my prior comment – this was a GREAT and truly inspirational talk by you Scott! My QUESTION to you is HOW (in what direction) you would want to see the AHA go the next time (2015?) that they update their ACLS Guidelines. I would imagine that they will again come out with a “basic cookbook” approach, since these are international standards written for providers of all capability levels working at all different types of institutions. Perhaps there should be a separate ACLS Manual for Resuscitationists that provides guidelines for optimal resuscitation? What does SCOTT think would be the BEST approach re material to include into the new ACLS Course once the new Provider Manual is written? THANKS in advance for your insights – and KEEP UP the great work – :)

  15. Daniel Grupel says

    Question about the epi – do use still use IV push as required by DBP or do you use a continuous drip and adjust the dose?


  16. says

    Great talk which inspired me to read the JAMA VSE article.
    The JAMA article refers to cardiac arrest in general. If you have a patient in PEA, give epinephrine and vasopressin, then go into VF, so you shock and give epi – are you still continuing the vasopressin during that second round of CPR?
    Seems like this trial overall had good results. I wish it would be followed in more hospitals in order to hopefully better help our critically ill patients.
    Thanks again!!

  17. Ken Grauer, MD says

    QUESTION: If a skilled EMS unit arrives at the scene of cardiac arrest – HOW LONG should they work in the field at trying to attain ROSC before initiating transport of the patient to the nearest ED facility? How much does the answer depend on: i) If there is a mechanical CPR device that can provide continuous high-quality CPR en route during a bumpy ambulance ride? and ii) Availability of an ED in close proximity capable of offering services not possible in the field (ie, bedside Echo; ECMO; cath and PCI)?


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