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Basic Life Support in Microgravity: Evaluation of a Novel Method During Parabolic Flight

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Evetts SN, Evetts LM, Russomano T, Castro JC, Ernsting J. Basic life support in microgravity: evaluation of a novel method during parabolic flight. Aviat Space Environ Med 2005; 76:506–510.

Background: If a cardiac arrest occurs in microgravity, the aim of current emergency procedures is to treat the patient using a medical restraint system within 2 min. The patient may require treatment while medical equipment is being deployed. The capability for one person, unaided, to successfully perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is, therefore, of paramount importance. A new technique has been developed whereby the practitioner encircles the thorax of the patient with his/her legs to restrain the patient to allow CPR to be performed in microgravity. Method: Two investigators performed both this method (during parabolic microgravity) and traditional CPR (at +1 Gz) on an instrumented CPR mannequin. The mannequin was modified to ensure accurate chest compression and ventilation measurements during microgravity. Results: The mean (± SE) depth and rate of chest compression were 44.0 ± 4.99 mm and 68.3 ± 17.0 compressions · min−1 respectively. Although the mean microgravity rate of compression proved significantly less (p < 0.05) than the +1 Gz mean (97.1 ± 3.4 compressions · min−1), chest compression depth did not differ (p > 0.05) from +1 Gz measures (43.6 ± 0.59 mm). The mean (± SE) microgravity tidal volume (VT) was 491 ± 50.4 ml, which also did not differ (p > 0.05) from +1 Gz values (507.6 ± 11.5 ml). Discussion . Although difficulties in performing this method during parabolic flight primarily affected compression rate, it may be possible to conduct basic life support using this technique in any microgravity environment.
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Keywords: CPR in microgravity; cardiac arrest in space; medical emergency in space; parabolic flight

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: May 1, 2005

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