2021 Opioid Cardiac Arrest Guidelines – Guideline Knowledge Check

Andrea Eberly, MD, MS, FAAEMEmergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Guideline Knowledge Check, Internal Medicine, Medical News, Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatric Medicine, Physician Assistant, Urgent Care

2021 opioid cardiac arrest resuscitation

2021 Opioid Cardiac Arrest Guidelines Update from the AHA Regarding Use of Naloxone in Opioid-Related Cardiac Arrest Resuscitation

The AHA just updated its 2021 opioid cardiac arrest scientific statement to update/clarify the management of opioid-related cardiac arrest. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), what is the role of naloxone when resuscitating a patient from opioid-related cardiac arrest?

Today’s Guideline Knowledge Check question comes from the desk of Med-Challenger Emergency Medicine Editor-in-Chief, Andrea Eberly, MD, FAAEM.

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Try this review question and find out if you’re following the most current guideline for management of opioid-related cardiac arrest and the role of naloxone in resuscitation.

Bystanders find a young-appearing male who is gasping for occasional breaths and otherwise unresponsive.

Next to him, they find a syringe and other drug paraphernalia. EMS is activated and arrives a few minutes later.

The health care personnel find the patient to now be apneic and pulseless.

No bystander interventions occurred.


According to the March 2021 scientific statement on opioid-associated out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, what is the role of naloxone in this setting?

Answer Options:

As long as the patient is in cardio-respiratory arrest, standard resuscitation alone is indicated; naloxone is unlikely to be beneficial and may do harm.

After initiation of standard basic life support with ventilatory support, a dose of naloxone should be given prior to the first epinephrine dose.

In patients with persistent asystole or pulseless electrical activity after the first epinephrine dose, a dose of naloxone should be given.

A dose of naloxone should be given simultaneously to the initiation of basic life support  (ventilation and chest compressions).

See the Answer:

2021 Opioid Cardiac Arrest Guidelines - Guideline Knowledge Check

About Guideline Knowledge Checks:

With each update of national clinical practice guidelines, some recommendations change and many remain unchanged. Med-Challenger Guideline Knowledge Checks help you know both what is new and what has stayed the same in the most recent guidelines pertinent to each medical specialty.

About the Author:

Andrea Eberly, MD, FAAEM graduated from the David Geffen Medical School of Los Angeles (UCLA) and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at the University Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona. After working as an attending physician in Tucson, she followed a recruiting call to the island of Guam, where she served in various roles, including as the director of the emergency department, the EMS Medical Director of Guam, and the Director of the 911 Call System. She has maintained her emergency medicine board certification through three cycles of American Board of Emergency Medicine Board Exams (last in 2014), all three with the help of Med-Challenger.

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