Objectives: Clinical providers have access to a number of pharmacologic agents during in-hospital cardiac arrest. Few studies have explored medication administration patterns during in-hospital cardiac arrest. Herein, we examine trends in use of pharmacologic interventions during in-hospital cardiac arrest both over time and with respect to the American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support guideline updates.
Design: Observational cohort study.
Setting: Hospitals contributing data to the American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines–Resuscitation database between 2001 and 2016.
Patients: Adult in-hospital cardiac arrest patients.
Interventions: The percentage of patients receiving epinephrine, vasopressin, amiodarone, lidocaine, atropine, bicarbonate, calcium, magnesium, and dextrose each year were calculated in patients with shockable and nonshockable initial rhythms. Hierarchical multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the annual adjusted odds of medication administration. An interrupted time series analysis was performed to assess change in atropine use after the 2010 American Heart Association guideline update.
Measurements and Main Results: A total of 268,031 index in-hospital cardiac arrests were included. As compared to 2001, the adjusted odds ratio of receiving each medication in 2016 were epinephrine (adjusted odds ratio, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3–1.8), vasopressin (adjusted odds ratio, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1–2.1), amiodarone (adjusted odds ratio, 3.4; 95% CI, 2.9–4.0), lidocaine (adjusted odds ratio, 0.2; 95% CI, 0.2–0.2), atropine (adjusted odds ratio, 0.07; 95% CI, 0.06–0.08), bicarbonate (adjusted odds ratio, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.8–2.3), calcium (adjusted odds ratio, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.7–2.3), magnesium (adjusted odds ratio, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.9–2.7; p less than 0.0001), and dextrose (adjusted odds ratio, 2.8; 95% CI, 2.3–3.4). Following the 2010 American Heart Association guideline update, there was a downward step change in the intercept and slope change in atropine use (p less than 0.0001).
Conclusions: Prescribing patterns during in-hospital cardiac arrest have changed significantly over time. Changes to American Heart Association Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines have had a rapid and substantial effect on the use of a number of commonly used in-hospital cardiac arrest medications.
Note the increased usage of bicarb and calcium. These are niche agents which are critically important in limited situations but have no place in the routine management of arrest. It is concerning that their use has increased despite being removed from ACLS protocols decades ago with a lack of high level evidence of benefit, possible evidence of harm, and the current bicarb shortage.