Quote from jetson
Pardon my ignorance but what would happen? It seems as if the respirations would continue, heartbeat or no...Is that right? Would appreciate any insight - thanks.
In full cardiac arrest...no, the patient would not be breathing independently, at least not for long. The ventilator, however, would continue to deliver breaths until you turned it off. Even if it is in PSV/CPAP mode it would flip into apnea mode and deliver breaths. Without circulation the oxygen delivered would be useless.
You might also see some agonal breathing by the patient during the dying process but that too would be of no use without circulation.
When the pump goes the rest of the body goes in rapid sequence. Respiratory arrest can precede cardiac arrest and vice versa but if one occurs and is not reversed the other surely follows.
BTW, vented patients in cardiac arrest who are receiving ACLS are bagged manually and not left on the vent during attempts at resuscitation.
Sometimes, though, during withdrawal of care on a patient who is vented, the family will request that the patient remains on the ventilator. The vent will just keep going after asystole until it is turned off. A little disconcerting to family, sometimes.