by Michael Wong
According to the Wall Street Journal:
A little known device is shaking conventional wisdom for reviving people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest: People may be able to go much longer without a pulse than the 20 minutes previously believed.
To see the Mayo Clinic video on Howard Snitzer, please click on the photo below:
This past January, Howard Snitzer suffered a heart attack outside of a grocery store in Goodhue, Minnesota. Two volunteer paramedics responded and began a 96-minute CPR marathon involving 20 others, who took turns pumping his chest.
Generally, if a victim’s pulse has not returned after 45 minutes of CPR, resuscitation is discontinued. However, fortunately for Howard, the paramedics were using capnography, a “monitoring device that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide in exhaled air and displays a numerical readout and waveform tracing.”
Research by Dr. Roger White of the Mayo Clinic and others shows that if the maximum CO2 pressure achieved during 20 minutes of CPR is 14 or less, resuscitation is almost certainly futile. If the level is above about 25, “you need to keep working at it until you’ve exhausted all of your tricks,” Dr. White said.
Based on Howard’s capnography readings, the paramedics continued and were able to resuscitate Howard after the 96th minute. Explains Bruce Goodman, a flight paramedic with the Mayo Clinic’s Medical Transport unit that was summoned to Mr. Snitzer’s aid:
If we didn’t have the CO2 readings we were getting, we would have terminated efforts much sooner.