The quality of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and coronary perfusion pressure (the pressure that forces blood through the heart) is considered to be related to survival.
It has been speculated whether raising the legs could increase venous return and thereby increase coronary perfusion pressure. A recent study in Göteborg indicates that if the patient's legs are raised to 20 degrees in connection with a cardiac arrest it results in an increase of end-tidal CO2, which is a rough measure of the flow in the pulmonary artery and thus a rough measure of the circulation in the body during CPR.
The project, The significance to survival of raising the patient's legs during CPR, tests the hypothesis that raised legs during CPR increases survival in cases of cardiac arrest.
The study is conducted in such a manner that in certain regions, raising the legs is introduced as a routine. The outcomes in these regions will then be compared with control regions. It is recorded in the Swedish Cardiac Arrest Registry for every patient whether their legs were raised or not. Among the patients whose legs were raised, the lift (35-50 cm) is performed during the first round of CPR after one and a half minutes of continual chest compressions. After this, the legs remain raised for the duration of the treatment. Patient data will be registered via the Swedish Cardiac Arrest Registry. We will make adjustments to the analyses for disruptive factors. The study is a multicentre study where it is estimated that approximately 3,000 patients will be included.
The preliminary results of the study will be able to be reported in 2015.
If survival in the event of cardiac arrest can be increased through the use of a simple treatment, this can provide a tremendous boost for the entire cardiac arrest population.