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Feasibility of intracardiac injection of drugs during cardiac arrest

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/ 269-274 First published online: 1 March 1990


In a cardiological department (Coronary Care Unit) routine treatment of asystole and electromechanical dissociation has comprised intracardiac injection (ICI) of drugs, usually given by trained nurses, using the parasternal approach into the right ventricle, followed by continued external cardiac massage. A 7-year experience is presented with 543 consecutive ICIs to 247 patients. Cardiac action was restored in half of the patients (125/247); 7.7% (19/247) were discharged alive. Autopsy was done in 80% of fatal cases (182/228). A left-sided pneumothorax was demonstrated in 9 of the 80 patients surviving ICI for < 1 h, a minor haemo-pericardium in three, but serious consequences in none. Lesions of the coronary artery or of the myocardium attributable to the ICI were never seen. Asystole in some patients was converted into ventricular fibrillation or ventricular tachycardia which in six patients proved intractable, but other serious cardiac arrhythmias having a possible connection with the ICI were not observed. It is concluded that during a cardiac standstill, drug treatment bv ICI with good technique carries a low risk, quite acceptable in these circumstances, and from a theoretical point of view can be expected to have advantages over administration of the drug into a peripheral vein

  • Intracardiac injection
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • asystole


    • Received November 7, 1988.
    • Revision received July 17, 1989.

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