Purpose: To determine the prevalence of gastric trauma and pulmonary aspiration after cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and to examine factors which may be associated with increased prevalence of these complications.
Methods: Retrospective review of 1,928 consecutive autopsy reports in a suburban teaching hospital from January 1, 1977 – June 1, 1986 of which 860 received CPR and 1,037 did not. Of the 860 who received CPR, 527 received prehospital CPR and 333 arrested in hospital and received only hospital CPR. Thirty-one cases were excluded because of inability to accurately examine the stomach.
Results: There were 3 cases of stomach mucosal laceration and 4 cases of through and through laceration of the stomach in the CPR group and only one occurred in the non-CPR group (p <0.03). All gastric trauma in the CPR group occurred in the prehospital group (p <0.05). Pulmonary aspiration occurred in 31% of prehospital CPR patients and only 10% of hospital CPR patients (p <0.0001). The prehospital group differed from the hospital group in the following factors: longer basic life support times without intubation, 14.0 minutes vs. 2.0 minutes (p <0.0001) and longer total resuscitation time 46.9 minutes vs. 34.6 minutes (p <0.0001).