Gasping during cardiac arrest

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this study is to review the prevalence and significance of gasping in patients experiencing cardiac arrest.

Recent findings

In a recent study by Bobrow et al., gasping was identified in 33% of patients who arrested after the arrival of emergency medical services (EMS). Patients who arrested previous to EMS arrival experienced a decreasing incidence of gasping with increasing duration of cardiac arrest: 20% if EMS arrived within 7 min, 14% if EMS arrival was between 7 and 9 min, and 7% if EMS arrived after 9 min. There was a positive association between the presence of gasping and survival: 28% of those who gasped survived compared with 8% of those who did not gasp (odds ratio, 3.4, 95% confidence interval, 2.2–5.2). Among the 481 patients who received bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation, survival to hospital discharge occurred among 39% of patients who gasped versus 9% among those who did not gasp (adjusted odds ratio, 5.1, 95% confidence interval, 2.7–9.4).


Gasping frequently occurs during cardiac arrest. Public and emergency medical dispatchers must be more aware of its presence and significance.

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