POCUS compression of the carotid artery for pulse determination in CPR

Kang SY, Jo IJ, Lee G, et al. Point-of-care ultrasound compression of the carotid artery for pulse determination in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Resuscitation. 2022;179:206-213. doi:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2022.06.025


Aim: To identify whether a novel pulse check technique, carotid artery compression using an ultrasound probe, can reduce pulse check times compared to manual palpation (MP).

Methods: This prospective study was conducted in an emergency department between February and December 2021. A physician applied point-of-care ultrasound-carotid artery compression (POCUS-CAC) and assessed the carotid artery compressibility and pulsatility by probe compression during rhythm check time. Another clinician performed MP of the femoral artery. The primary outcome was the difference in the average time for pulse assessment between POCUS-CAC and MP. The secondary outcomes included the time difference in each pulse check between methods, the proportion of times greater than 5 s and 10 s, and the prediction of return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) during ongoing chest compression.

 Results: 25 cardiac arrest patients and 155 pulse checks were analyzed. The median (interquartile range) average time to carotid pulse identification per patient using POCUS-CAC was 1.62 (1.14-2.14) s compared to 3.50 (2.99-4.99) s with MP. In all 155 pulse checks, the POCUS-CAC time to determine ROSC was significantly shortened to 0.44 times the MP time (P < 0.001). The POCUS-CAC approach never exceeded 10 s, and the number of patients who required more than 5 s was significantly lower (5 vs. 37, P < 0.001). Under continuous chest compression, six pulse checks predicted the ROSC.

Conclusions: We found that emergency physicians could quickly determine pulses by applying simple POCUS compression of the carotid artery in cardiac arrest patients.

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