Systemic thrombolysis for refractory cardiac arrest due to presumed myocardial infarction

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The American journal of emergency medicine


The empiric usage of systemic thrombolysis for refractory out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is considered for pulmonary embolism (PE), but not for undifferentiated cardiac etiology [1, 2]. We report a case of successful resuscitation after protracted OHCA with suspected non-PE cardiac etiology, with favorable neurological outcome after empiric administration of systemic thrombolysis. A 47-year-old male presented to the emergency department (ED) after a witnessed OHCA with no bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). His initial rhythm was ventricular fibrillation (VF) which had degenerated into pulseless electrical activity (PEA) by ED arrival. Fifty-seven minutes into his arrest, we gave systemic thrombolysis which obtained return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). He was transferred to the coronary care unit (CCU) and underwent therapeutic hypothermia. On hospital day (HD) 4 he began following commands and was extubated on HD 5. Subsequent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) revealed non-obstructive stenosis in distal LAD. He was discharged home directly from the hospital, with one-month cerebral performance category (CPC) score of one. He was back to work three months post-arrest. Emergency physicians (EP) should be aware of this topic since we are front-line health care professionals for OHCA. Thrombolytics have the advantage of being widely available in ED and therefore offer an option on a case-by-case basis when intra-arrest PCI and ECPR are not available. This case report adds to the existing literature on systemic thrombolysis as salvage therapy for cardiac arrest from an undifferentiated cardiac etiology. The time is now for this treatment to be reevaluated.

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Combined Modality Therapy; Fibrinolytic Agents; Humans; Hypothermia, Induced; Male; Middle Aged; Myocardial Infarction; Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest; Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

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