Cardiac massage for trauma patients in the battlefield: An assessment for survivors

Kenton L. Anderson, Alejandra G. Mora, Andrew D. Bloom, Joseph K. Maddry, Vikhyat S. Bebarta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Survival from traumatic cardiopulmonary arrest (TCA) has been reported at a rate as low as 0–2.6% in the civilian pre-hospital setting, and many consider resuscitation of this group to be futile. The aim of this investigation was to describe patients who received cardiac massage during TCA in a battlefield setting; we also aimed to identify predictors of survival. Methods: We conducted a review of the Department of Defense Trauma Registry to identify patients who received cardiac massage in the battlefield between 2007 and 2014. Patients were also grouped according to location of cardiac arrest: pre-hospital (PH) and in-hospital (IH). The groups were compared and evaluated by injury, transport time, type of resuscitation, and pre-hospital procedures. Outcome variables included survival to discharge and 30-day survival. Categorical variables were analysed using chi-square or Fisher's exact tests. Wilcoxon tests were performed for continuous variables. Regression modelling was used to assess for predictors of survival. Results: 75 of all 582 patients (13%, 95% CI 10–16) survived to 30 days, and all survivors were transported out of the battlefield; 23 PH (7.8%, 95% CI 5.2–12) and 52 IH (17%, 95% CI 13–22) patients survived to 30 days (p < 0.001). Closed-chest cardiac massage with the administration of intravenous medications was associated with 30-day survival among IH patients. Conclusions: We report a 13% survival to 30 days among all patients receiving cardiac massage in a battlefield setting. Closed-chest cardiac massage predicted survival among IH TCA victims who also received intravenous medications in this review of combat-related TCA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20-27
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Battlefield
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Heart arrest
  • Heart massage
  • Military
  • Mortality
  • Survival
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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