Since the recognition in the early 1900's that pressure or manipulation of the eye can result in bradycardia there has grown a staggering literature of over 500 papers1 dealing with various aspects of the so-called "oculocardiac reflex." Present-day interest is essentially focused on methods to eliminate this response which can lead to dire consequences during relatively innocuous procedures in eye surgery. A statistical survey of the mortality attributable to the OCR (oculocardiac reflex) is bound up with uncertainty. There has been a tendency to implicate the OCR as a cause of death during eye surgery, especially when no other cause could be found. Such cases,2,3 unfortunately, lack direct proof in the form of cardiovascular or respiratory measurements.
There is, however, ample documentation of verified cardiac standstill occurring during the application of pressure to the eyes. For instance, there are reported cases of cardiac standstill for as long as
ASERINSKY E, DeBIAS DA. Suppression of Oculocardiac Reflex by Artificial Respiration. Arch Ophthalmol. 1963;69(4):484–491. doi:10.1001/archopht.1963.00960040490012
Artificial Intelligence Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.