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Original Research

Open Access

Forward blood flow provoked by changing intravascular pressure using an extracorporeal circulation during cardiopulmonary resuscitation

  • Kook-Hyun Lee1
  • Chul-Woo Jung1
  • Jin-Tae Kim1
  • Byeong-Chul Kang2

1Departments of Anesthesiology, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2020.16.0082 Vol.17,Issue 1,January 2021 pp.39-43

Published: 08 January 2021

*Corresponding Author(s): Kook-Hyun Lee E-mail:


Since both “cardiac pump” and “thoracic pump” theories have been proved during cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the mechanism of forward blood flow during closed chest compression still remains open to question. The cardiac pump seems to work by the direct compression of the cardiac ventricles between the sternum and vertebral column. A pressure gradient created between the ventricle and aorta generates systemic blood flow. However, the thoracic pump mechanism presumes chest compression causes a rise in intrathoracic pressure which generates a blood flow from the thoracic cavity to the systemic circulation. Retrograde blood flow from the right heart into the systemic veins is prevented by a concomitant collapse of veins at the thoracic inlet. We hypothesize that the intrinsic decrease of vascular resistance from the aorta to peripheral arteries and the existence of competent venous valves enable blood to flow unidirectionally by the fluctuation of intravascular pressures during closed chest compression. The purpose of this study is to prove an antegrade arterial blood flow without cardiac compression and intrathoracic pressure changes in an animal cardiac arrest model. We demonstrate that arterial pulses can be developed by using an extracorporeal circuit, resulting in forward blood flow from the aorta through the systemic vasculature. It can be suggested that changes in intravascular pressure provoked by either cardiac or thoracic pump generate systemic blood flow during closed chest compression, while systemic vascular patency and valve function may be required for successful CPR.


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation; Blood flow; Chest compression; Vascular resistance

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Kook-Hyun Lee,Chul-Woo Jung,Jin-Tae Kim,Byeong-Chul Kang. Forward blood flow provoked by changing intravascular pressure using an extracorporeal circulation during cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Signa Vitae. 2021. 17(1);39-43.


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