COVID-19 and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in the out-ofhospital settings

Publication year: 2020


This document and the findings it contains were prepared in response to an inquiry from the Department of Health and Social Services in the context of the health emergency related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Quebec. The objective is to carry out a summary review of the published data and to mobilize key knowledge in order to inform public decision-makers and health and social services professionals. Given the rapid nature of this response, the conclusions or positions that stem from it are not based on an exhaustive identification of the published data, an evaluation of the methodological quality of the studies with a systematic method or on an elaborate consultation process. In the circumstances of such a public health emergency, the INESSS remains on the lookout for any new data likely to make it modify this rapid response. INESSS POSITIONS TO DATE May 14, 2020 Based on the scientific documentation available at the time of writing and on the consultations carried out, and despite the uncertainty existing in this documentation and in the approach used, and taking into account that: In the context of COVID, best cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) practices must take into account certain important principles: avoid the spread of the virus, protect the health of the first responder while ensuring the best chances of survival for the victim. Community transmission is the main means of transmission of SARSCov-2 in Quebec. CPR is considered an aerosol-generating intervention, but when assessed by component, ventilation and intubation maneuvers would be most at risk of producing aerosols. Chest compressions and defibrillation pose an uncertain risk and would be considered more likely to produce droplets. The protection of health care workers and workers is the priority during a pandemic. The learned societies and experts consulted believe that resuscitation maneuvers should be carried out, even in a pandemic, with the appropriate equipment and according to the expertise of the responders.


Over the past two decades, the rate of survival from cardiac arrest in both hospital and community (or non-hospital) settings has improved steadily. This success relies on the rapid initiation of proven interventions, such as good quality chest compressions and defibrillation [Edelson DP, 2020]. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic poses significant challenges to established practices and processes for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) maneuvers when taken out of hospital. If the goal of rapid management is to minimize the mortality and morbidity of all individuals, the pandemic context requires preventing the spread of the virus and protecting the health of the person performing the resuscitation operations. Community transmission is now the primary means of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The fear of contagion could, in a community or out-of-hospital context, undermine good resuscitation practices for an individual with signs of cardiac arrest. Indeed, in this pandemic time, first responders must both consider the immediate needs of the victims and their own safety. It is in this context that the MSSS produced a simplified resuscitation protocol for COVID-19 for all healthcare settings taking care of users outside hospitals (version of April 9, 2020). The protocol aims to standardize cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the pandemic context in all care settings taking care of users outside acute care hospitals. This includes residential and long-term care centers, outpatient clinics, private seniors' residences, designated assessment clinics, psychiatric units and any other care setting.


Evaluation questions: 1. What are the risks of contamination with COVID-19 according to CPR maneuvers performed by a first responder? 2. What CPR maneuvers should be favored in a non-hospital context and the protection necessary to carry them out? CONCLUSION: The literature review and consultation process on the risks of transmission of COVID-19 and the best resuscitation practices in RCT situations have highlighted the relevance of breaking down the CPR process into its different components and to review the recommendations issued by the MSSS based on this distinction. It appears that the maneuvers of chest compressions and defibrillation seem to involve a lower risk than the components related to ventilation and should therefore be given without delay, once the adequate protective equipment is put on, and this without the status of the person in ACR is known (ie whether or not infected with COVID-19). Various recommendations are submitted to the MSSS to support the revision of the protocol issued on April 9. To facilitate the adjustments desired by the MSSS, a provisional proposal to revise their protocol.

More related