Cardiac Arrest in the Operating Room: Resuscitation and Management for the Anesthesiologist

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Abstract

Cardiac arrest in the operating room and procedural areas has a different spectrum of causes (ie, hypovolemia, gas embolism, and hyperkalemia), and rapid and appropriate evaluation and management of these causes require modification of traditional cardiac arrest algorithms. There is a small but growing body of literature describing the incidence, causes, treatments, and outcomes of circulatory crisis and perioperative cardiac arrest. These events are almost always witnessed, frequently known, and involve rescuer providers with knowledge of the patient and their procedure. In this setting, there can be formulation of a differential diagnosis and a directed intervention that treats the likely underlying cause(s) of the crisis while concurrently managing the crisis itself. Management of cardiac arrest of the perioperative patient is predicated on expert opinion, physiologic rationale, and an understanding of the context in which these events occur. Resuscitation algorithms should consider the evaluation and management of these causes of crisis in the perioperative setting.

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