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July 1962

Closed-Chest Cardiac Massage: Survival After Fifty-Five Minutes of Ventricular Fibrillation Without Apparent Sequelae

Author Affiliations


Cardiovascular Laboratory, Department of Medicine and the Department of Thoracic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; United States Public Health Service Trainee in Cardiology, Duke University Medical Center (Dr. Cohen); Postdoctoral Research Fellow, National Heart Institute, U.S. Public Health Service (Drs. Sumner and Whalen).

Arch Intern Med. 1962;110(1):57-62. doi:10.1001/archinte.1962.03620190059009

In recent years much attention has been devoted to the problem of emergency resuscitation. The phenomenon of sudden cardiac arrest is a familiar one to anesthesiologists and surgeons who usually are in a position to deal with it optimally. However, most current efforts have been directed toward the management of these emergencies when they occur under less ideal circumstances. Successful resuscitation following cardiac standstill and ventricular fibrillation by the technique of open cardiac massage, after an emergency thoracotomy, has been frequently observed. However, the surgical aspects of this technique have grossly limited its clinical applicability. Of late, the near-physiologic hemodynamic status that can be maintained by closed-chest massage through rhythmic sternal compression has been reported,1-3 and there are now numerous examples of successful clinical application of this method.

We have recently had the opportunity of applying the closed resuscitative technique when ventricular fibrillation developed in the course of cardiac

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