• Cardiac arrest and the role of transthoracic echocardiography

      Reed, Grace (2017-10)
      Abstract published with permission. The role of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is one of the top five research priorities in prehospital critical care (Fevang et al, 2011). TTE is a non-invasive diagnostic tool in cardiac arrest, using ultrasound images to visualise the realtime activity of the heart (Hernandez et al, 2008). TTE has the potential to reduce the time between the onset of cardiac arrest and appropriate therapy. There are several reversible causes of cardiac arrest that can be identified by TTE in the pre-hospital environment. The method and value of identifying pulmonary emboli (PE), cardiac tamponade and hypovolaemia will be discussed. Equally, TTE can exclude certain reversible causes, indicating that the cardiac arrest is of an irreversible nature and the resuscitation attempt is futile. The application of TTE in this context will be reviewed in depth, from the current literature to the physical practicalities. As such, the aim of the present study is to clarify the role of TTE in patients suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.