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December 16, 1961

Cardiac ArrestReport of Application of External Cardiac Massage on 118 Patients

JAMA. 1961;178(11):1063-1070. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040500005002

A new method of producing artificial circulation by external sternal compression without thoracotomy was evaluated in 138 episodes of cardiac arrest in 118 patients. Seventy-six arrests occurred outside the operating and recovery room areas. Seven out of every 10 were in asystole; the remainder were in ventricular fibrillation. Cardiac action was restored in 107 (78%) of the 138 cardiac arrests. In 84 (60%) of the 138, the prearrest status of the central nervous system and heart was regained. Twenty-eight (24%) of the 118 patients survived the arrest and inciting disease to leave the hospital. In patients with sudden cardiac arrest, rapid diagnosis followed by immediate artificial ventilation and circulation adequately protected the central nervous system. Cardiotonic drugs, electrocardiograms, ventricular defibrillation, and continued cardiovascular and pulmonary support were employed as needed.