External cardiac compression during cardiopulmonary resuscitation of patients with left ventricular assist devices.
Mabvuure NT., Rodrigues JN.
A best evidence topic was written according to a structured protocol to determine whether there is evidence that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) by compressing the chest is safe and effective in patients with left ventricular assist devices (LVADs). Manufacturers warn of a possible risk of device dislodgement if the chest is compressed. AMED, EMBASE, MEDLINE, BNI and CINAHL were searched from inception to March 2014. Animal studies, case reports, case series, case-control studies, randomized controlled studies and systematic reviews were eligible for inclusion. Opinion articles with no reference to data were excluded. Of 45 unique results, 3 articles merited inclusion. A total of 10 patients with LVADs received chest compression during resuscitation. There was no report of device dislodgement as judged by postarrest flow rate, autopsy and resumption of effective circulation and/or neurological function. The longest duration of chest compression was 150 min. However, there are no comparisons of the efficacy of chest compressions relative to alternative means of external CPR, such as abdominal-only compressions. The absence of high-quality data precludes definitive recommendation of any particular form of CPR, in patients with LVADs. However, data identified suggest that chest compression is not as unsafe as previously thought. The efficacy of chest compressions in this patient population has not yet been investigated. Further research is required to address both the safety and efficacy of chest compressions in this population. Urgent presentation and publication of further evidence will inform future guidance.