Background: In a rodent model of cardiac arrest and resuscitation in which the inspired gas mixture was enriched with oxygen, resuscitability and survival were unaffected by positive pressure ventilation. In the present study, in a larger animal model, tidal volumes generated during precordial compression and with spontaneous gasping were quantitated.
Methods: Domestic pigs with an average weight of 34 kg were anesthetized with pentobarbital. Ventricular fibrillation (VF) was induced electrically. Precordial compression was begun after 4 min of untreated VF. Each of 22 animals received one of two interventions in conjunction with precordial compression: positive pressure ventilation with oxygen or oxygen supplied at the port of a tracheal tube at ambient pressure. After 8 min of precordial compression, defibrillation was attempted.
Results: Only very moderate increases in arterial PCO2 were documented during cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the absence of mechanical ventilation but arterial oxygen tension was consistently in excess of 100 mm Hg. Cardiac resuscitability and 48-h survival were approximately the same in animals maintained on inspired oxygen whether or not they were mechanically ventilated (7/11 or 8/11). In the absence of mechanical ventilation, precordial compression and spontaneous gasping yielded minute volumes that exceeded 5 L.
Conclusion: Positive pressure mechanical ventilation did not improve resuscitability or postresuscitation outcome in this porcine model of cardiac arrest.