Author: Tobias Leach
3rd Year Medical Student | University of Bristol | Passionate about space!
Space provides boundless opportunities for human existence and innumerable threats to human health.
The question is, are we yet prepared to deal with a catastrophic event, such as a cardiac arrest in space?
To gain an understanding of the current state of CPR in microgravity with a focus on chest compressions in the event of a sudden cardiac arrest onboard.
An Ovid Medline search was conducted: 17 articles were found; 12 were excluded; six additional articles were found in the references of the remaining five articles, bringing the total number of articles included to 11. These were then critically analysed.
No CPR method currently reaches the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) guidelines. The Handstand (HS) method appears to be the strongest. Evetts-Russomano (ER) is the second strongest method. Automatic chest compression device (ACCD) performed consistently well.
CPR appears to be far more difficult in microgravity. Inconsistencies in research methodology do not help. The ER method should be used as a first contact method and the HS method should be used once the casualty is restrained. An ACCD should be considered as part of the medical equipment. Further research is needed, directly comparing all positions under the same conditions.
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