NHLBI Halts CPR Trial

November 27th, 2009 | Sources: Elsevier Global Med News


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has shut down a trial designed to compare cardiac arrest resuscitation strategies used by emergency medical technicians after an analysis of preliminary data revealed the newer strategies were ineffective.

brokenheartedThe obliquely named study, “Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Prehospital Resuscitation using an Impedance valve and Early versus Delayed” looked at a pair of new strategies.

The first one involved using an impedance threshold device to improve circulation during CPR, supposedly by enhancing changes in chest pressure.  The device featured a valve attached to breathing tubes that are normally inserted by EMTs during the course of CPR. It didn’t work.

The second part of the trial was designed to assess whether different CPR protocols had an impact on survival. In the so-called early protocol, EMTs performed CPR until they could analyze the victim’s heart rhythm (usually 30-90 seconds).

In the late protocol, techs performed CPR for at least 3 minutes before assessing the victim’s heart rhythm. Defibrillation was used when indicated. Neither strategy proved superior to the other.

After reviewing data from 11,500 cases, the trial’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board determined that continued enrollment of new patients was not going to change the disappointing results. Soon thereafter, the NHLBI turned out the lights.

The researchers agreed to continue monitoring survivors for up to 6 months. A final report is due out next spring.

“We will continue to search for new ways to save lives in the precious few moments after cardiac arrest – and evaluate the benefits and risks of commonly used practices,” Susan Shurin, deputy director of the NHLBI, said resolutely.


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