Category: Hypothermia Cardiac Arrest

Pulse Check in Hypothermic Cardiac Arrest

Question#: 551



I have seen in the Companion that the recommended pulse check for hypothermic patients is 10 seconds, as per AHA guidelines.

The only reference I found about that is an article from AHA in 2005 where they suggest a 30-45 seconds pulse check.

I have found nothing more recent stating that the pulse check should be 10 seconds.

Can you send me the AHA source stating that the pulse check should be 10 seconds, as I want to settle an argument with my PCP students about that.

Thank you,



The AHA 2010 Adult Basic Life Support, Special Resuscitation Situations, Hypothermia states:
If the adult victim is unresponsive with no breathing or no normal breathing (ie, only gasping), healthcare providers can check for a pulse, but should start CPR if a pulse is not definitely felt within 10 seconds.

The AHA 2015 Adult Basic Life Support and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Quality, Special Resuscitation Situations, Unintentional Hypothermia states:
This topic was last reviewed in 2010, and the treatment recommendations have not changed.

The 2020 Adult Basic and Advanced Life Support, Special Circumstances of Resuscitation, Accidental Hypothermia states:
When the victim is hypothermic, pulse and respiratory rates may be slow or difficult to detect.
This topic last received formal evidence review in 2010

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