Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Interim Guidance for Basic and Advanced Life Support in Adults, Children, and Neonates With Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19 – April 9, 2020

All of the revised guidelines are at the end.

Treatment of cardiac arrest in the time of a pandemic requires changes to the ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), and NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation Program) guidelines. These were written specifically for COVID-19, but would apply just as well to any other pandemic with the possibility of aerosolized respiratory transmission.

Who is making these recommendation?

From the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee and Get With the Guidelines®-Resuscitation Adult and Pediatric Task Forces of the American Heart Association in Collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Respiratory Care, American College of Emergency Physicians, The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists, and American Society of Anesthesiologists: Supporting Organizations: American Association of Critical Care Nurses and National EMS Physicians[1]

Why are these recommendations being made?

Hypoxemic respiratory failure secondary to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), myocardial injury, ventricular arrhythmias, and shock are common among critically ill patients and predispose them to cardiac arrest,5-8 as do some of the proposed treatments, such as hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, which can prolong the QT.9 With infections currently growing exponentially in the United States and internationally, the percentage of cardiac arrests with COVID-19 is likely to increase.

Healthcare workers are already the highest risk profession for contracting the disease.10 This risk is compounded by worldwide shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). Resuscitations carry added risk to healthcare workers for many reasons. First, the administration of CPR involves performing numerous aerosol-generating procedures, including chest compressions, positive pressure ventilation, and establishment of an advanced airway. During those procedures, viral particles can remain suspended in the air with a half-life of approximately 1 hour and be inhaled by those nearby.11 Second, resuscitation efforts require numerous providers to work in close proximity to one another and the patient. Finally, these are high-stress emergent events in which the immediate needs of the patient requiring resuscitation may result in lapses in infection-control practices.[1]

Will the changes decrease chances of successful resuscitation?

Yes. That is unavoidable, but DNRs (Do Not Resuscitate orders) and POLSTs (Physicians Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) also decrease the chances of successful resuscitation. These changes are still the right thing to do.

How do these changes decrease the chances of successful resuscitation?

There is more focus on successful intubation – at the expense of continuous chest compressions. Chest compressions definitely improve outcomes, while there is no evidence that intubation improves outcomes – and there is evidence that intubation decreases successful resuscitation.

Prioritize oxygenation and ventilation strategies with lower aerosolization risk

● Use a HEPA filter, if available, for all ventilation
● Intubate early with a cuffed tube, if possible, and connect to mechanical ventilator, when able
● Engage the intubator with highest chance of first-pass success
● Pause chest compressions to intubate
● Consider use of video laryngoscopy, if available
● Before intubation, use a bag-mask device (or T-piece in neonates) with a HEPA filter and a
tight seal
● For adults, consider passive oxygenation with nonrebreathing face mask as alternative to bagmask device for short duration
● If intubation delayed, consider supraglottic airway
● Minimize closed circuit disconnections[1]

The AHA is now telling us to stop compressions to help minimize the number of intubation attempts, but not because intubation is going to improve outcomes for the patient. This is to protect everyone near the patient from aerosolized infectious material. An endotracheal tube with a HEPA filter is not an absolute protection, but intubation with a HEPA filter is probably best at preventing spread of aerosolized infectious material than other methods of ventilation and probably even better than passive ventilation (compression only resuscitation with a mask over the patient’s mouth).

Because our patients will now have a lower chance of a good outcome (being resuscitated with good brain function), we should also be more selective about whom we attempt to resuscitate. Too many of us have only been going through the motions, because we have refused to recognize futility, or our medical directors have refused to let us recognize futility.

Even though this lower chance of a good outcome is still better than before we focused on chest compressions, more patients should not have resuscitation attempted.

Consider resuscitation appropriateness

● Address goals of care
● Adopt policies to guide determination, taking into account patient risk factors for survival [1]

The other import consideration is the transport of family members.

Transport

o Family members and other contacts of patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should not ride in the transport vehicle.
o If return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) has not been achieved after appropriate resuscitation efforts in the field, consider not transferring to hospital given the low likelihood of survival for the patient,17 balanced against the added risk of additional exposure to prehospital and hospital providers.[1]

Unfortunately, footnote 17 is to page 16 of CARES (the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival), which is about using CARES in Ohio. I suspect that this was meant to refer to something else, so the wrong citation was provided in the rush to get new guidelines on line quickly.

17. CARES: Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival. 2018 Annual Report.

https://mycares.net/sitepages/uploads/2019/2018_flipbook/index.html?page=16



Below are all of the new AHA algorithms (they are also available in PDF format at
https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047463



AHA – COVID-19 Recommendations – BLS Healthcare Provider Adult Cardiac Arrest Algorithm [1]

Click on the image for full size.



AHA – COVID-19 Recommendations – ACLS Cardiac Arrest Algorithm [1]

Click on the image for full size.



AHA – COVID-19 Recommendations – BLS Healthcare Provider Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Algorithm for 2 or More Rescuers [1]

Click on the image for full size.



AHA – COVID-19 Recommendations – BLS Healthcare Provider Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Algorithm for the Single Rescuer [1]

Click on the image for full size.



AHA – COVID-19 Recommendations – PALS Pediatric Cardiac Arrest Algorithm [1]

Click on the image for full size.



Footnotes:



[1] Interim Guidance for Basic and Advanced Life Support in Adults, Children, and Neonates With Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19: From the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Committee and Get With the Guidelines®-Resuscitation Adult and Pediatric Task Forces of the American Heart Association in Collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association for Respiratory Care, American College of Emergency Physicians, The Society of Critical Care Anesthesiologists, and American Society of Anesthesiologists: Supporting Organizations: American Association of Critical Care Nurses and National EMS Physicians.
Edelson DP, Sasson C, Chan PS, Atkins DL, Aziz K, Becker LB, Berg RA, Bradley SM, Brooks SC, Cheng A, Escobedo M, Flores GE, Girotra S, Hsu A, Kamath-Rayne BD, Lee HC, Lehotzky RE, Mancini ME, Merchant RM, Nadkarni VM, Panchal AR, Peberdy MAR, Raymond TT, Walsh B, Wang DS, Zelop CM, Topjian A.
Circulation. 2020 Apr 9. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.047463. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 32270695

Free Full Text from the American Heart Association in PDF format

This page is the abstract from the American Heart Association. It has a tab for PDF/EPUB, but the link only provides the PDF link above.



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