Is 15 minutes an appropriate resuscitation duration before termination of a traumatic cardiac arrest? A case-control study☆, ☆☆

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Previous guidelines suggest up to 15 minutes of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) accompanied by other resuscitative interventions before terminating resuscitation of a traumatic cardiac arrest. The current study evaluated the duration of CPR according to outcome using the model of a county-based emergency medical services (EMS) system in Taiwan.


This study was performed as a prospectively defined retrospective review from EMS records and cardiac arrest registration between June 2011 and November 2012 in Taoyuan, Taiwan.


A total of 396 patients were enrolled. Among the blunt injuries, most incidents were traffic accidents (66.5%) followed by falls (31.5%). Bystander CPR was performed in 34 patients (8.6%). Of the patients, 18.4% were sent to intermediate to advanced level traumatic care hospitals. Although 4.8% of patients survived for 24 hours, only 2.3% survived to discharge, and 0.8% achieved cerebral performance category 1 or 2. Among all patients who developed return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC), 14.3% of ROSC was achieved within 15 minutes since CPR. Except for 1, most patients who developed ROSC over 24 hours but did not survive to discharge received CPR more than 15 minutes. Four of 6 patients who survived to discharge achieved ROSC after CPR for more than 15 minutes (16, 18, 22, and 24 minutes). Three patients discharged with cerebral performance category 1 or 2 received CPR for 6, 16, and 18 minutes, respectively.


Fifteen minutes of CPR before terminating resuscitation is inappropriate for patients undergoing traumatic cardiac arrsests, as longer duration resuscitation increases ROSC and survival.

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