The effect of bicarbonate on resuscitation from cardiac arrest

Carol S. Federiuk, Arthur B. Sanders, Karl B. Kern, Jay Nelson, Gordon A. Ewy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Study objectives: This study attempted to determine the effect of bicarbonate administration on resuscitation in a porcine model of prolonged cardiac arrest. Design: After instrumentation, 26 swine were subjected to ventricular fibrillation for 15 minutes (16 animals) or 20 minutes (ten animals) with no resuscitative efforts. Interventions: Resuscitation attempts with open-chest cardiac massage and epinephrine were used in all animals after the arrest period. The experimental group was given sodium bicarbonate (3 mEq/kg), and the control group received 3% saline (5 mL/kg) at the initiation of cardiac massage. Measurements: Resuscitation success, hemodynamics, and arterial and mixed venous gases were compared in the bicarbonate and hypertonic saline-treated groups. Results: There was no difference in resuscitation rates between bicarbonate and nonbicarbonate-treated swine. After 15 minutes of ventricular fibrillation, six of eight bicarbonate-treated swine were resuscitated successfully compared with five of eight hypertonic saline-treated animals. None of the five bicarbonate-treated or five hypertonic saline-treated swine that underwent 20 minutes of ventricular fibrillation were resuscitated. The arterial and mixed venous pH values were significantly different in the bicarbonate-treated animals from values in the control group. There was no difference in systolic or diastolic blood pressures or myocardial perfusion pressure between the bicarbonate and hypertonic salinetreated animals. Conclusion: Despite correlation of arterial and venous acidemia, the use of sodium bicarbonate did not improve resuscitation from prolonged cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1173-1177
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • bicarbonate, cardiac arrest
  • cardiac arrest, bicarbonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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