Electrical induction of ventricular fibrillation for resuscitation from postcountershock pulseless and asystolic cardiac arrests

Charles T. Leng, Ronald D. Berger, Hugh Calkins, Albert C. Lardo, Norman A. Paradis, Henry R. Halperin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background - There is increasing evidence that defibrillation from prolonged ventricular fibrillation (VF) before CPR decreases survival. It remains unclear, however, whether harmful effects are due primarily to initial countershock of ischemic myocardium or to resultant postdefibrillation rhythms (ie, pulseless electrical activity [PEA] or asystole). Methods and Results - We induced 15 dogs into 12 minutes of VF and randomized them to 3 groups. Group 1 was defibrillated at 12 minutes and then administered advanced cardiac life support (ACLS); group 2 was allowed to remain in VF and was subsequently defibrillated after 4 minutes of ACLS; group 3 was defibrillated at 12 minutes, electrically refibrillated, and then defibrillated after 4 minutes of ACLS. All group 1 and 3 animals were defibrillated into PEA/asystole at 12 minutes. After 4 minutes of ACLS, group 2 and 3 animals were effectively defibrillated into sinus rhythm. The extension of VF in group 2 and 3 subjects paradoxically resulted in shorter mean resuscitation times (251 ± 15 and 245 ± 7 seconds, respectively, versus 459 ± 66 seconds for group l; P < 0.05) and improved 1-hour survival (10 of 10 group 2 and 3 dogs versus 1 of 5 group 1 dogs; Fisher's exact, P<0.005) compared with more conservatively managed group 1 subjects. Conclusions - Precountershock CPR during VF appears more conducive to resuscitation than CPR during postcountershock PEA or asystole. The intentional induction of VF may prove useful in the management of PEA and asystolic arrests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)723-728
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 7 2001


  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Fibrillation
  • Myocardial stunning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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