Grace Reed
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 9, Iss. 10, 06 Oct 2017, pp 437 - 442

The role of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is one of the top five research
priorities in prehospital critical care (Fevang et al, 2011). TTE is a non-invasive
diagnostic tool in cardiac arrest, using ultrasound images to visualise the realtime
activity of the heart (Hernandez et al, 2008). TTE has the potential to
reduce the time between the onset of cardiac arrest and appropriate therapy.
There are several reversible causes of cardiac arrest that can be identified by TTE
in the pre-hospital environment. The method and value of identifying pulmonary
emboli (PE), cardiac tamponade and hypovolaemia will be discussed. Equally,
TTE can exclude certain reversible causes, indicating that the cardiac arrest is of
an irreversible nature and the resuscitation attempt is futile. The application of
TTE in this context will be reviewed in depth, from the current literature to the
physical practicalities. As such, the aim of the present study is to clarify the role
of TTE in patients suffering out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

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