Background: Common mechanisms proposed to explain forward blood flow during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) include the cardiac and thoracic pumps. However, the exact role of the left ventricle in promoting forward blood flow during standard CPR in humans is mostly unknown. The aim of this study was to explore the role of the left ventricle in generating forward blood flow during standard CPR in humans by observing the direction of blood flow during CPR. Methods: Ten patients with non-traumatic cardiac arrest were enrolled in this study. During CPR, contrast echocardiography with agitated saline was performed in the left ventricle and the aorta, and the direction of contrast flow was assessed using transesophageal echocardiography. Results: On injecting the contrast in the aortic root, anterograde flow from the aorta during the compression phase was observed. No aortic regurgitation was present. Retrograde blood flow from the left ventricle into the left atrium as well as anterograde blood flow from the left ventricle into the aorta during the compression phase of CPR was observed in all cases. On injecting the contrast in the aortic root, anterograde flow from the aorta during the compression phase was observed. During each cycle of chest compression, the mitral valve closed during compression and opened during relaxation, and the aortic valve opened during compression and closed during relaxation. Conclusions: Retrograde flow to the left atrium and forward blood flow onto the aorta on left ventricular contrast echocardiography during the compression phase suggests that extrinsic compression of the left ventricle by external chest compression acts as a pump in generating blood flow during standard CPR in humans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine