Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2–associated disease (coronavirus disease 2019) poses a unique challenge to health- care providers due to the risk of viral aerosolization and disease transmission. This has caused some centers to modify existing CPR procedures, limit the duration of CPR, or consider avoiding CPR altogether. In this review, the authors propose a procedure for CPR in the intensive care unit that minimizes the number of personnel in the immediate vicinity of the patient and conserves the use of scarce personal protective equipment. Highlighting the low likelihood of successful resuscitation in high-risk patients may prompt patients to decline CPR. The authors recommend the preemptive placement of central venous lines in high-risk patients with intravenous tubing extensions that allow for medication delivery from outside the patients’ rooms. During CPR, this practice can be used to deliver critical medications without delay. The use of a mechanical compression system for CPR further reduces the risk of infectious exposure to health- care providers. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation should be reserved for patients with few comorbidities and a single failing organ system. Reliable teleconferencing tools are essential to facilitate communication between providers inside and outside the patients' rooms. General principles regarding the ethics and peri-resuscitative management of coronavirus 2019 patients also are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2595-2603
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cardiothoracic and vascular anesthesia
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • COVID-19
  • cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • coronavirus
  • coronavirus disease 2019
  • critical care
  • do-not-resuscitate
  • mechanical compression device
  • pandemic
  • personal protection equipment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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