Should Adults Experiencing In-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Be Intubated?

Photo by A.J. Heightman / Journal of Emergency Medical Service / PennWell Corp.

Although it’s commonly practiced, results from a large new study call into question the effectiveness of intubating adults who experience in-hospital cardiac arrest.

As we report in a May news article, researchers analyzed data for 108,079 adult patients who experienced cardiac arrest in the hospital between 2000 and 2014—and found that patients who were intubated within the first 15 minutes of arresting were less likely to survive than patients who were not.

Among other findings, intubated patients were less likely to experience a return of spontaneous circulation and had a lower rate of good functional outcome (defined as either mild or no neurological deficit, or only moderate cerebral disability).

The researchers concluded that the study results do not support early intubation for adults who experience cardiac arrest. However, they noted that their analysis was unable to eliminate potential confounders like the skills and experience of health care professionals, the underlying cause of the cardiac arrest, and the quality of chest compressions. Additional clinical trials are needed to yield useful results and to better understand the influence of confounding factors. […]

2017-05-15T09:13:26+00:00 May 15th, 2017|Nursing|2 Comments

Unanticipated Codes

By Marcy Phipps, RN, a regular contributor to this blog. Her essay, “The Love Song of Frank,” was published in the May (2012) issue of AJN. She currently has an essay appearing in The Examined Life Journal.

Code cart/courtesy of author Code cart/courtesy of author

My mentor once told me that there are almost never unanticipated cardiac arrests in the ICU. I’ve found this to be true. Certain indicators, like laboratory abnormalities or particular cardiac rhythms, can foretell a Code, and sometimes subtle signs trigger an instinctual foreboding that I’ve learned never to ignore.

The conviction that a Code Blue can be anticipated provides a sense of security; if the arrest is anticipated, then it may be preventable. And when it’s inevitable, at least anticipation allows for preparation. I strongly believe this. And yet this weekend my patient coded and I was caught completely off guard.

I had just remarked to one of my colleagues that my petite, elderly Chinese patient (some identifying details have been changed) was looking so much better than she had when I’d admitted her earlier that day from the floor—she’d been in respiratory distress, in a hypertensive crisis, and in need of immediate dialysis. All of the various specialty consultants had seen her and collaborated and I’d had the thought that Ms. M’s day would end very well, that it would be one of those nursing shifts where I’d see a metamorphosis […]

2016-11-21T13:08:15+00:00 February 20th, 2013|nursing perspective|5 Comments