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Identifying potentially shockable rhythms without interrupting cardiopulmonary resuscitation*

Li, Yongqin MSBME, PhD; Bisera, Joe MSEE; Geheb, Fredrick PhD; Tang, Wanchun MD, FCCM; Weil, Max Harry MD, PhD, FCCM

doi: 10.1097/01.CCM.0000295589.64729.6B
Laboratory Investigations
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Objective: Current versions of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) mandate interruptions of chest compression for rhythm analyses because of artifacts produced by chest compressions. Interruption of chest compressions reduces likelihood of successful resuscitation by as much as 50%. We sought a method to identify a shockable rhythm without interrupting chest compressions during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Design: Experimental study.

Setting: Weil Institute of Critical Care Medicine, Rancho Mirage, CA.

Subjects: None.

Interventions: Electrocardiographs (ECGs) were recorded in conjunction with AEDs during CPR in human victims. A shockable rhythm was defined as disorganized rhythm with an amplitude >0.1 mV or, if organized, at a rate of ≥180 beats/min. Wavelet-based transformation and shape-based morphology detection were used for rhythm classification. Morphologic consistencies of waveform representing QRS components were analyzed to differentiate between disorganized and organized rhythms. For disorganized rhythms, the amplitude spectrum area was computed in the frequency domain to distinguish between shockable ventricular fibrillation and nonshockable asystole. For organized rhythms, in victims in whom the absence of a heartbeat was independently confirmed, the heart rate was estimated for further classification.

Measurements and Main Results: To derive the algorithm, we used 29 recordings on 29 patients from the Creighton University ventricular tachyarrhythmia database. For validation, the algorithm was tested on an independent population of 229 victims, including recordings of both ECG and depth of chest compressions obtained during suspected out-of-hospital sudden death. The recordings included 111 instances in which the ECG was corrupted during chest compressions. A shockable rhythm was identified with a sensitivity of 93% and a specificity of 89%, yielding a positive predictive value of 91%. A nonshockable rhythm was identified with a sensitivity of 89%, a specificity of 93%, and a positive predictive value of 91% during uninterrupted chest compression.

Conclusions: The algorithm fulfilled the potential lifesaving advantages of allowing for uninterrupted chest compression, avoiding pauses for automated rhythm analyses before prompting delivery of an electrical shock.

From the Weil Institute of Critical Care Medicine, Rancho Mirage, CA (YL, JB, WT, MHW); Department of Bioinformatics and Medical Physics, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, P. R. China (YL); The Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (JB, WT, MHW); ZOLL Medical Corporation, Chelmsford, MA (FG); and Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL (MHW).

Funded internally by the Weil Institute of Critical Care Medicine, Rancho Mirage, CA.

The authors have not disclosed any potential conflicts of interest.

For information regarding this article, E-mail: weilm@weiliccm.org

© 2008 by the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins