How is a cardiac arrest treated at the hospital?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,460
    Dr. Robert O’Connor, professor & chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia Health System, discusses how cardiac arrest is treated at the hospital.

    Host: How is cardiac arrest treated once a patient arrives at the hospital?

    Robert O'Connor: Well hopefully they have gotten the pulse back. Hopefully, the treatment in the field has been successful. That is the person collapses, there a bystander CPR, someone with the defibrillator gets there. The patient say would then be shocked back to a normal rhythm and now they are arrived at the hospital with the pulse.

    There is a variety of treatments that will help promote survival. If the person is awake, alert and oriented then they will undergo a cardiovascular evaluation, which may include things such as cardiac catheterization, rhythm analysis etcetera, monitoring lab work that sort of thing. If the person is persistently comatose, in other words, they haven't regain consciousness fully, there are other treatments such as lowering their body temperature, that a lot of centers have been using successfully and then there is other supportive measures such as supporting the cardiovascular function either through administration of oxygen or medications and then finally to have a cardiologist perhaps do a cardiac catheterization to evaluate the coronary arteries looking for a treatable atherosclerosis. That would be another form of treatment.

    So you can pretty much expect the full range of therapy for a patient after cardiac arrest and number four they go home, they have to be evaluated for whether or not they need implantable defibrillator.

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