Complications of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Ventilations can cause insufflation of the stomach, leading to regurgitation and possible aspiration or possibly to gastric rupture. Closed-chest compressions can lead to fractures of the sternum or the ribs, separation of the ribs from the sternum, pulmonary contusion, pneumothorax, myocardial contusion, hemorrhagic pericardial effusions, splenic laceration, or liver laceration. Proper techniques can minimize these complications but not totally prevent them. Late complications include pulmonary edema, gastrointestinal hemorrhage, pneumonia, and recurrent cardiopulmonary arrest. Anoxic brain injury can occur in a resuscitated individual who had suffered prolonged hypoxia; it is the most common cause of death in resuscitated patients.

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