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If one is to gain a complete understanding of modern resuscitation, attention should also be applied to knowing it's history. Resuscitation is a word that is often misused and misunderstood. In this post we undertake to understand its origins.

The etymology of resuscitation. To resuscitate- the verb draws its origin from the early 15th century, meaning to "restore or revive".(1) The latin root resuscitatus is the past participle of resuscitare which means to "revive or rise again". Resuscitate combines re ("do again") and suscitare, ("to raise up from under") and citare ("to summon")Stated another way: to raise up again, to summon from under.

...continue reading "The history and etymology of resuscitation"

In Dr. Hill's 1868 article speaks to the dangers of the anesthetic care and the most commonly administered agent at the time, chloroform. In this article Dr. Hill shares "the mode of treatment which I have found most successful in resuscitating patients apparently moribund under its influence" - chest compression! Awesome! No doubt about it, for the resuscitation junkie, this is an excellent early case of brining a patient back from the brink. As in in-hospital clinician, it is especially sweet that the harm is iatrogenic - still such an enormous issue in hospital based care.

Furthermore, this a time when resuscitation, as we currently know it, does not exist. This is a time when chest compressions would have looked unusual and likely inappropriate, sacreligious, vulgar etc.. This is the first recorded case of their use outside on a slightly earlier German case and its the richest description.

Hill JD. Observations on some of the dangers of chloroform in surgical practice, and a successful mode of treatment. British Journal of Dental Science. 145(11), 355-358.

...continue reading "The first chest compressions: death from anesthetics"

Photo Credit: JAMA June 15, 1984 - Vol 251, No.23, p.3139 doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020280004002

Discovery and innovation often come from humble beginnings and the intersection/collaboration of different sectors. For example, it was the Consolidated Electric Company of New York City that sought out a professor of engineering to study the effect of electrocution on human physiology. The working group that emerged from this need explored how electric countershock, applied directly to the myocardium, could halt electrocution-related fibrillation. Kouwenhoven, Howell, Vivien and others built multiple open-chest defibrillators and their work had the unintended consequence of pushing chest compressions into the mainstream. ...continue reading "Chest compressions’ origin: Electrocution & anesthesia toxicity"

University of Alberta Department of Emergency Medicine Research Day  June 2017

...continue reading "Presentation: A scoping review of lay-person response guidelines to life-threatening opioid toxicity: Public health & resusc science controversy"