Ventilation rates measured by capnography during out-of-hospital cardiac arrest resuscitations and their association with return of spontaneous circulation



      Clinical guidelines for adult out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) recommend a ventilation rate of 8–10 per minute yet acknowledge that few data exist to guide recommendations. The goal of this study was to evaluate the utility of continuous capnography to measure ventilation rates and the association with return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).


      This was a retrospective observational cohort study. We included all OHCA during a two-year period and excluded traumatic and pediatric patients. Ventilations were recorded using non-invasive continuous capnography. Blinded medically trained team members manually annotated all ventilations. Four techniques were used to analyze ventilation rate. The primary outcome was sustained prehospital ROSC. Secondary outcomes were vital status at the end of prehospital care and survival to hospital admission. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression models were constructed.


      A total of 790 OHCA were analyzed. Only 386 (49%) had useable capnography data. After applying inclusion and exclusion criteria, the final study cohort was 314 patients. The median ventilation rate per minute was 7 (IQR 5.4–8.5). Only 70 (22%) received a guideline-compliant ventilation rate of 8–10 per minute. Sixty-two (20%) achieved the primary outcome. No statistically significant associations were observed between any of the ventilation parameters and patient outcomes in both univariable and multivariable logistic regression models.


      We failed to detect an association between intra-arrest ventilation rates measured by continuous capnography and proximal patient outcomes after OHCA. Capnography has poor reliability as a measure of ventilation rate. Achieving guideline-compliant ventilation rates remains challenging.


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